LUCY BURDETTE: Some days I simply crave good old-fashioned spaghetti and meatballs. But most traditional versions are loaded with sodium and thus off-limits to me. But this enormous basil plant was calling to me: Lucy! Lucy! spaghetti! spaghetti!
How could I refuse? I've tried a few other recipes, but this one really stood out. (And my hub loved it too!) I happened to have some low-sodium corn muffins in the freezer, but you can improvise if you're not so lucky.)
Ingredients for the meatballs
1 pound good quality ground beef
Two low-sodium corn muffins (or 2 slices bread)
1/4 cup milk
One half onion, chopped finely
One clove garlic, ditto
One half teaspoon dried oregano
Freshly ground pepper
Half a teaspoon Jane's Crazy mixed-up pepper
Mix all ingredients together and fashion the mixture into meatballs, size of your choice. Place these on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Turn them halfway through so both sides have a chance to brown. Set these aside on paper towels to drain.
For the sauce
24 ounce jar unsalted crushed tomatoes (I love the local Bishop's Orchards brand)
One onion, chopped
One large clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Three-quarter teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
4 to 6 large basil leaves, shredded
1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
Sauté the garlic and onion until soft, and then add the oregano and pepper. After a few minutes of simmering, add the tomatoes. Cook these ingredients together for about 30 to 45 minutes, then add the basil and simmer again.
Taste the sauce to see if it's to your liking – I added a teaspoon sugar.
This amount of sauce is appropriate for about half the meatballs, so add the balls to the sauce and simmer again. (I froze the remainder for another day.) If you were serving a larger crowd, you might double the tomato sauce and add all the meatballs.
The flavors will meld together nicely if you make this a day ahead. Serve on good-quality pasta with fresh grated Parmesan on the side. And something green of course.
The seventh Key West mystery, KILLER TAKEOUT, is on bookshelves everywhere. What about yours?
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