Meatballs and Spaghetti. Yes, this recipe is inspired from that one. I had read about it in novels or seen in a movie. But had tasted it only once till now. Also, it has been on my top list of recipes to try from a long long time.
A quick search on the internet reveals thousands of recipes for meatballs. The main ingredient for the meatballs is obviously meat. But, I am not comfortable with cooking meat. Although, I eat chicken from time to time. I still can’t get myself to cook it. All the meat recipes in our house are cooked by my husband.
The reason I always postponed making the meatballs and spaghetti has been meat. This weekend I thought, I can’t make the meat version. But I can cook a non-meat version involving some vegetables.
The New Search Results
The next search was for the pasta sauce. Most of the recipes that I saw, whether on youtube or blogs, involved canned tomatoes to make pasta sauce. But I wanted to make the sauce from fresh tomatoes. After searching for some time, I found this video recipe on youtube which uses fresh tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes.
Again, like all other recipes that I try, I had to make some tweaks in these two recipes. This time because I didn’t have all the ingredients required at home. I replaced some of the ingredients and ignored the others. I will share my version of the recipes in this post later. First, let’s see the ingredients I replaced/ignored.
Let’s start with the veggie balls. The first replacement is the medium firm tofu instead of firm tofu. I tend to buy the extra firm tofu, but it is not always available at the nearby grocery store. This week was one of those when they were out of firm tofu. Oats instead of flax seeds. Red chili powder, Garam Masala, Coriander Powder instead of chili sauce. Totally ignored the peanut butter and herbs. Instead, I added some gram flour and all purpose flour. This facilitated the batter fused together in balls easily and didn’t crumble while frying. My batter was a bit sticky due to the medium firm tofu. If you try this recipe, use the extra firm tofu or the firm tofu.
For the tomato sauce, I didn’t have fresh basil or any other herb. So I replaced it with the Italian seasoning and parsley flakes.
The recipe involved cooking pasta sauce, boiling fettuccine and making veggie balls. All of this takes around an hour. The time can be reduced if you use all your burners and cook simultaneously. In my case, I had help. My husband was the sous-chef that day.
Fettuccine is a pasta form that I had never made. My husband chose the pasta this time. We had eaten this form of pasta at restaurants, but never at home. For lunch that day, I boiled half packet of the fettuccine.
The veggie balls required tofu, mushrooms, onions, ginger, garlic, and oats. My husband chopped the veggies while I started boiling the pasta.
Next, I sauteed mushrooms in a little oil. Water oozed out of the mushrooms after few minutes. So, I waited till all the water evaporated, then added the chopped onions, garlic, ginger, and salt. Again sauteed for few minutes till onions became translucent. Next, added a half cup of oats and mixed well. Roasted for another minute or two and closed the flame.
I tried to drain as much water as I can from tofu. By the time I was done, it already had crumpled. So I just smashed remaining into a smooth paste. Then added the mushrooms mixture to the tofu along with little salt, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, all purpose flour and gram flour. I heated oil on the another burner for deep frying.
I never measure the oil for deep frying. I just pour it to a level which will make sure balls will float. By now the oil had the right temperature. I shaped the batter into balls and my husband fried them. Like always, with recipes involving balls, I tasted one to check if there is any need to add any more spices. There wasn’t. They were so tasty, we could have eaten them alone without the pasta sauce and the pasta.
Finally the pasta sauce. First, I ground four tomatoes in my food processor and chopped two tomatoes into big pieces. Next, in a pan, added oil. Then sauteed chopped garlic for a minute. Next added red chili flakes to the garlic. Followed by tomato paste and big pieces of tomato. Bring the sauce to boil to thicken it. Last, add Italian seasoning, parsley flakes, and salt.
Veggie Balls and Fettuccine with Pasta SaucePrint This
- 1/2 Onion finely chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1/2 inch ginger finely chopped
- 8 oz/0.5 lbs/250g mushrooms finely chopped
- 12 oz/ 0.75 lbs/ 450g tofu (medium firm/ firm /extra firm)
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1/3 cup gram flour
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 6 Tomatoes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Oil for deep frying
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp parsley flakes
- 8 oz/ 0.5 lbs/ 250g fettuccine
- Salt to taste
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add mushrooms to the oil and mix well. Mushrooms will start separating water. Saute until all the water evaporates.
- When water evaporates, add the onions, garlic, ginger, and salt. Saute them till onions turn translucent.
- Next, add the oats. Mix well and roast for another minute. Remove from heat and let it cool.
- Drain the excess water from tofu using a paper towel.
- In a bowl, mash tofu into a paste, and mix in the mushrooms mixture. Next, add red chili powder, coriander powder, and garam masala. Mix well till all the spices are properly blended.
- Now shape the batter into balls.
- In a deep pan, heat oil for deep drying. Carefully add the balls one at a time into the oil. Turn them after they become brown from one side. Once they are uniformly brown, remove the balls from the oil and place them on the paper towel to remove excess oil.
- Take six fresh tomatoes. Grind four of them into a paste in the food processor. Cut two of them into big chunks.
- In a sauce pan, add 1 tbsp oil, add garlic. As soon as it turns slight brown/golden, add red chili flakes.
- Add both the tomato paste and chopped tomatoes.
- Bring it to boil. Let it simmer till you achieve your desired level of thickness.
- In a pan, add water. Once it starts boiling, add pasta, one tsp salt and tsp oil.
- Stir frequently to avoid lumps in the pasta.
- After 10-15 minutes, pasta becomes soft. Drain the water and use pasta for your serving.
- On a plate, first, add the pasta. Then place the veggie balls. Pour the sauce over the balls and serve it.
- Alternatively, add balls to your boiling sauce. Cook them for about five minutes on medium heat. Now on a plate, add the pasta. Then add the veggie balls and sauce over it.
First I added the fettuccine, followed by the veggie balls. Then poured the pasta sauce over the balls. All three of them together tasted awesome. We finished the whole meal at lunch only. No leftovers.
A tip from my husband: cook the balls in the sauce for around five to ten minutes so that they absorb a little taste from the sauce just like we did for the Kofta Curry.
Now that I have tried making veggie balls using mushrooms and tofu, I want to try using eggplant and add some more veggies like grated carrots or cauliflower or cabbage to the veggie balls’ batter for the next time. Maybe next time I will bake/shallow fry the balls instead of deep-frying them.
This was one of the successful experiments. Next, I will share one of my experiments that failed.
Do you make meatballs and spaghetti? Or you make the veggie balls? Which do you prefer? Share in the comments below.
Until next time, Happy Cooking!