Our friends at Mary Help of Christians Academy in North Haledon, New Jersey, share recipes created in their Culinary Arts program on their blog, Our Daily Bread. This recipe is printed here with permission from MHCA Culinary Arts teacher Frank LaMendola.
Spaghetti with Meatless Meatballs
1 28 oz. can whole San Marzano tomatoes
1/4 cup extra-cirgin olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
7 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
small dried whole chile, or pinch crushed pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 page fresh basil sprig, or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, more to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion (chopped)
20 oz mushrooms, finely chopped
1 cup quick cook oats
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup chopped parsley
4 garlic cloves (minced)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Pour tomatoes into a larger bowl with your hands. Pour 1 cup of water into can and slosh it around to get tomato juices. Reserve.
In a large skillet (do not use a deep pot) over a medium heat, heat the oil. When it is hot, add onion.
As soon as onion is sizzling (do not let it brown), add garlic, then add the tomatoes, then the reserved tomato water. As whole chile or red pepper flakes, oregano (if using) and salt. Stir.
Place basil sprig, including stem, on the surface (like a flower). Let it wilt, then submerge in sauce. Simmer sauce until thickened and oil on surface is deep orange, about 15 minutes. (If using oregano, taste sauce after 10 minutes of simmering, adding more salt and oregano as needed.) Discard basil and chile (if using).
In a large skillet, sauté the onion in olive oil on medium-low heat for about 7 minutes. Add mushrooms, increase the heat to medium-high and cook for 10-15 minutes. You’ll need to wait until the water evaporates and then keep cooking the mushrooms until they brown nicely. Add garlic, stir, and transfer the mushrooms into the mixing bowl. Let them cool down.
Add the rest of the ingredients excluding marinara to the mixture. Stir the mixture nicely and cover it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, possibly overnight for the flavors (and texture!) to develop.
When ready to cook, using tablespoon as a measure, form small balls from the mixture. Fry the balls in a small amount of vegetable oil until they turn brown or bake them in a preheated oven at 400F for 15 minutes.
Add marinara sauce to the medium saucepan. Place the meatballs on top and cook the meatballs in the sauce on a low heat for about 15 more minutes.
Garnish with the grated Parmesan or fresh parsley.
Copyright 2019 Mary Help of Christians Academy Culinary Arts
About the author: Mary Help of Christians Academy, located in the Diocese of Paterson, is a private Catholic secondary school for young women. It is conducted by the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco, in collaboration with laypersons committed to Catholic education.