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“Spaghetti” is something I make fairly often, because rice noodles are extremely simple and quick to cook (which means easy to mess up, too). You just drop them in boiling water for no more than 3 minutes, and then rinse with cold water for 1 minute. Done. (Well, for the kind of rice noodles I buy from the asian market, I should say.) Then, throw together a quick sauce and you’ve got a weeknight dinner that should make enough for tommorrow’s lunch! Score.

What I haven’t had in forever, and what I always wish I could eat when I see them on the appetizer menu at restaurants, are meatballs. Giant, juicy, meaty meatballs slathered in tomato sauce. De-lish-us. So, I had some ground beef in the freezer, and an eye for meatballs, obviously…to foodnetwork.com I went! After some reading, I settled on a Tyler Florence recipe for inspiration. What you’ll find below is very similar to Tyler’s, but using ingredients that I normally have on hand…and gluten free of course. (Note: Marco said these were some of the best meatballs he’s ever had. Seriously. They’re good.) ((Or you could also try Jen’s Turkey Bacon Spinach meatballs.))

Rice Noodles, Home-made Tomato Sauce, and MEATBALLS

Rice Noodles, Home-made Tomato Sauce, and MEATBALLS

1 pound of ground beef (I buy 80/20 because it’s cheaper, and skimp on the oil since it clearly has enough)
1/2 cup diced onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
1 egg
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 slices of gf bread or 1 cup of gf breadcrumbs or 1 cup of crushed rice cereal
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons of oil (EVOO)

4 cups of Home-made Tomato Sauce or *sigh* jarred sauce (bleh)

Any kind of noodles, cooked (I eat rice noodles and sometimes sweet potato noodles, I’m really not a fan of corn noodles)

Pre-heat oven to 350 and get your noodles going on the stovetop based on the packaging instructions. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet and sautee the onion, garlic and parsley until soft, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

So, I just happened to have some really old home-made gluten-free bread in the freezer, saving it up for a recipe just like this (so I kept telling myself everytime I saw it in there). It was mostly crumbs and one end piece in a ziplock bag. I added a little almond milk to the bag and let it sit in the sink for a while, since it was frozen, and took this opportunity to thaw out the ground beef in the microwave (because I never plan ahead). You can either use bread slices that you soak in milk, breadcrumbs that you leave dry (unless they’re large chunks that can easily be soaked), or crushed rice cereal, that you also leave dry (these last two options will soak up a lot of the meat juice so they won’t be quite as juicy and leaky, but still really good).

When the meat is thawed out enough that it won’t freeze you’re hands (I do this all the time, I get very impatient), combine it in a bowl with the egg, cheese, salt and pepper. Since your hands are now nice and messy, work on squeezing out your bread slices/crumbs (if using) and add them to the meat bowl, along with the onion mixture (save this pan, you’ll be browning your meatballs in it). Combine all the ingredients gently, being careful not to over work the meat.

Now you can form them into whatever size you want. I went with two-bite size meatballs, and I got about 15 out of this batch. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the skillet and add a few meatballs, with space in between so you can turn them. Get them nice and brown on all sides, and place on an oven stone with a LIP, or your oven will be covered in meatball juice (or put them on a sheetpan with parchment paper). Bake until cooked through, about 10-15 minutes depending on the size of your meatballs. (You might have to open one up and taste test, what a shame.)

Done! Add to your pasta with sauce and enjoy.