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Rocco DiSpirito’s ‘My Mama’s Meatballs’ Recipe

Rocco DiSpirito

Anyone who likes Italian food – and who doesn’t? – knows you don’t wear your skinny jeans when you’re going out to indulge in chicken parm or pasta.

But chef Rocco DiSpirito says you can have your Italian food — and it it, too.

dispirito noweatthisitalian hcfinal Rocco DiSpiritos My Mamas Meatballs RecipeIn his new cookbook, “Now Eat This! Italian,” Rocco shows us how to make classic Italian dishes with less than 350 calories.

Find the recipe below:

Ingredients
Olive oil cooking spray
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup chopped onion
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth, such as Swanson’s
1½ cups Redpack tomato puree
1½ cups Redpack diced tomatoes
½ medium eggplant, cut in half lengthwise
6 ounces lean ground turkey breast, such as Jennie-O
4 ounces 96% lean ground beef, such as Lauras Lean
2 ounces extra-lean ground pork, such as Farmer John
1 large egg white
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
½ ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
2 cups puffed Kamut cereal, such as Arrowhead Mills
Salt
6 ounces 100% Kamut Intregrale
Spaghetti, such as Alce Nero

Method
1. Preheat the broiler
2. Coat a large skillet with 4 seconds of cooking spray
3. Add half the garlic and half the onion and a pinch of red pepper flakes, place over
4. medium heat, and cook until softened, about 2 minutes
5. Add half the chicken broth, half the tomato puree, and half the diced tomatoes; bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes
6. Place the eggplant cut-side-up on a broiler pan and broil until lightly browned, 4 to 6 minutes
7. Remove the eggplant from the broiler, place it on a microwave-safe plate, and microwave on high until tender, about 2 minutes. Let cool.
8. Scoop the eggplant pulp out of its skin and let any excess water drip off
9. Measure out ½ cup of the pulp, then chop it fine
10. Combine the turkey, beef, and pork in a large bowl
11. Place the egg white, the remaining chicken broth, remaining onion, remaining garlic, and the parsley in a blender and blend until finely chopped (not pureed), about 30 seconds
12. Add the mixture to the meat; add the Parmigiano and crumble the Kamut cereal in with your fingers
13. Add the eggplant, season with salt and red pepper flakes, and mix gently, using a wooden
14. spoon or your hands until it forms a very thick wet paste
15. Use a tablespoon to measure 16 equal heaping mounds onto a clean work surface and form
16. the mounds into balls with your hands
17. Coat a large nonstick skillet with 4 seconds of cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat
18. Add half of the meatballs and cook until lightly browned on one side, about 1 minute
19. Roll the meatballs and brown on the other side, about 2 minutes
20. Remove the browned meatballs from the pan and gently place in the tomato sauce; coat the pan with another 4 seconds of cooking spray, and brown the rest of the meatballs
21. Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook at a low simmer for 1 hour
22. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. Drop the spaghetti in the water
23. and cook according to the package instructions
24. Drain, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water
25. Place 4 meatballs on each of 4 plates, then add the spaghetti to the remaining sauce in the pan along with ½ cup of the pasta water; cook until the sauce holds well on the pasta
26. Divide the spaghetti among the plates