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meatball and zucchini.jpg

This is a delicious alternative regular meatballs and spaghetti.  It's deeply flavorful yet light.  The pine nuts add a depth of flavor that makes this dish richly satisfying.  If you want to amp it up, you could top with chili crisp. 




  • Tomato Sauce

  • Meatballs

  • Spaghezzini (zucchini spaghetti-make with mandolin attachment)

  • Parmigiano Reggiano


The Sauce

  • 3-4 cloves garlic

  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

  • 1 holland pepper chopped with seeds or dried crushed pepper to taste

  • ¾ cup dry vermouth or (red wine)

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • olive oil for sautéing

  • fresh chopped basil

  • salt and pepper


Heat olive oil medium heat, about 3 turns in pan, then add pepper and garlic until garlic softens, about 1-2 minutes. Add oregano, stir a few times but don’t let garlic burn. Add vermouth, and cook down a bit. Then add tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook.  Begin the meatballs.  Before adding meatballs stir in basil and butter. 

The Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground beef (preferably grass fed organic)

  • 1 egg beaten

  • 2 cloves garlic (or to taste)

  • 1/3 cup almond meal

  • ¼ cup finely chopped or ground toasted pine nuts plus a few tbsp. of toasted pine nuts for garnish

  • ¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

  • salt and pepper

  • olive oil


Toast pine nuts in a sauté pan, moving continuously, until lightly golden brown.  Finely chop or grind with mortar and pestal.

Combine all the ingredients, minus the olive oil in a bowl with hands, mushing until well combined. Form balls, about 1 ½” diameter. Heat about ¼” oil in pan. Brown meatballs on all sides (do them in batches if they are crowding the pan) Place in sauce. Allow to cook for up to two hours on low heat or until meatballs are cooked through.


Boil a pot of water,  add some salt, drop zucchini in and cook briefly for about a minute or so. Drain.


Add a little sauce to the zucchini along with some extra virgin olive oil to keep moist.


To serve:


Place some sauce in the bottom of a bowl. Top with zucchini.  Top that with some meatballs. Spoon some sauce over meatballs.  Grate some Parmigiano Reggiano on top. Garnish with some toasted pine nuts and a julienne of basil leaves.

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