Monday, February 18, 2013

Cannellini Bean "Meatballs" and Spaghetti

I was intrigued with the idea of making meatballs from cannellini beans and since spaghetti and meatballs is almost a comfort food, I knew I had to try it.  Canned beans are run through the food processor with a roasted red pepper and then combined with the usual meatballs ingredients.  They were then baked in the oven and finally simmered in marinara sauce.  It's always a treat when you can take a comfort food and spin a healthier version of it.

Cannellini Bean "Meatballs" with Spaghetti
Makes 4 servings

1 1/2 cans (15 ounces each) Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 roasted red bell pepper, roughly chopped
1/2 medium yellow onion, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 egg
1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups marinara sauce (homemade or store bought - I used Newman's Own today)
Parmesan cheese for serving
cooked spaghetti

Roast red pepper directly over flame on a gas burner or gas grill, or under the broiler, turning frequently until all sides are charred.  Place pepper in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 10 minutes.  Rub charred skin off and remove stem and seeds.  Chop roughly.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Thoroughly coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine beans and roasted red pepper.  Pulse until chopped, but not smoothly pureed.

Transfer the mixture to a medium-sized bowl and stir in the grated onion, garlic, parsley, oregano, egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper until well combined.

Using a rounded 2 tablespoon portion of the bean mixture, form "meatballs" by rolling between the palms of your hands.  Place the "meatballs" on the prepared baking baking sheet, spacing evenly.

Bake until the meatballs are firm to the touch and have developed a light golden brown coating, 15 to 20 minutes.

In a large saucepan, heat your favorite marinara sauce over medium heat until simmering.  Add meatballs and stir to coat.  Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve over spaghetti and top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Barely adapted from Cookin Canuck

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