Sometimes eating on a restricted diet can leave us wanting the classics we grew up with. Dr Chay still wants you to enjoy eating though. This a re-working of a classic dish that delivers on those classic flavours without provoking allergy and immune responses. Sure it isn’t exactly the same….But it’s pretty darn good!
You can find all the ingredients you need here in Rossland, at Ferraro’s!
1 250 g package le veneziane gluten free spaghetti (available at Ferraro’s)
Simple Pomodoro Sauce
6 fresh organic tomatoes, diced and blended ( to save time you can use 1x 400ml can crushed tomatoes)
1 organic yellow onion (finely diced)
4 cloves organic garlic (pressed, or minced)
1 bunch organic basil
10-12 sprigs organic thyme
1/4 tsp red chili flakes (more if you like heat)
1/2 teaspoon salt (may need more, add to taste)
Cracked black pepper
1 organic free-range egg
2 Tbsp organic olive oil (divided / plus more for sautéing)
3 cloves organic garlic (minced)
1/3 cup gluten free breadcrumbs (substitute Panko if not worried about gluten)
1/3 cup loosely packed fresh organic basil (chopped)
1/3 cup Pecorino Romano cheese (Similar to Parmesan but made with sheep’s milk)
1 pinch each sea salt and red pepper flakes (plus more to taste)
1 Tbsp dried oregano (or 2 Tbsp freshly chopped oregano per 1 Tbsp dried)
8 sprigs fresh organic thyme destemmed and chopped
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 15-ounce organic chickpeas* (drained, rinsed and dried)
2 Tbsp Pecorino Romano cheese (Sheep milk based cheese)
3 Tbsp gluten-free breadcrumbs
Torn fresh organic basil
Grated Pecorino Romano
Start the Pomodoro sauce first and leave it to simmer and develop as you prepare the other elements.
- Heat a large frying pan or sauce pot on medium with 4 tbsp olive oil.
- Add prepared onion and garlic, sautéing for 5 minutes or until fragrant and translucent.
- Add prepared or canned tomatoes and season with salt, a few grinds of black pepper, and red chili flakes.
- ***optional step: for a smoother sauce blend tomatoes, onion, and garlic, in a blender and return to pan
- Add fresh herbs tied in a bundle with butcher’s twine (for easy removal).
- May need to add a touch of baking soda if the sauce is too acidic. A touch of honey can also balance the flavour-BUT taste carefully and add small amounts as you go.
- Let simmer on very low while you prepare the “meatballs” and pasta.
***Optional: If you don’t feel like going through the effort of making a sauce, or your condition does not allow you to eat nightshade vegetables (tomatoes) check with your naturopathic physician if in doubt, just fry a few sliced cloves of garlic in olive oil, toss pasta in it, and top with “meatballs.”
For the “meatballs”
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and beat egg in blender or food processor.
- Heat a large metal or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add half of the olive oil (1 tbsp) and minced garlic. Sauté until slightly browned, stirring frequently – about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, then add to food processor or blender with egg.
- Next, add gluten-free bread crumbs, basil, thyme, Pecorino Romano cheese, salt, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, and 1 Tbsp olive oil (15 ml). Pulse/blend until small bits remain, scraping down sides as needed.
- Next, add rinsed/dried chickpeas and blend/pulse until a moldable “dough” is formed, scraping down sides as needed. You don’t want the chickpeas to turn into a paste, but you also don’t want any left whole.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added a bit more basil, thyme, salt, and gluten-free bread crumbs.
- Scoop out rounded 1 Tbsp amounts of dough (a small icecream scoop or large melon baller is perfect for this) and gently form then roll into balls – between 12-15 depending on size. Then roll in additional Pecorino Romano cheese-gluten-free bread crumb mixture to coat.
- ***Before you start sautéing the “meatballs” Heat a large pot of salted water, on high, to cook the pasta in.
- Heat the same skillet you used earlier over medium heat. Once hot, add enough olive oil to form a thin layer on the bottom of the skillet (roughly, 2 Tbsp-30 ml), then add “meatballs” in two batches, as to not crowd the pan. Add more oil as needed.
- Brown for about 5 minutes total, shaking the pan to roll them around to brown all sides. Turn down heat slightly if browning too quickly.
- Add sautéed “meatballs” to a bare baking sheet and transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- At this time, add the pasta to boiling water and cook according to package directions
- Once meatballs are golden brown and fairly firm to the touch, remove from oven. Let cool briefly before serving. They will firm up the longer they cool.
- To serve, top cooked pasta with pomodoro sauce and desired number of “meatballs”. Top with another sprinkle of Pecorino Romano cheese and fresh basil (optional).
- Leftover meatballs will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, though best when fresh. Reheat in a 350 degree F oven until warmed through, or in the microwave.
- To freeze, sauté meatballs as instructed, then transfer to a baking sheet and freeze until completely firm. Then transfer to a freezer bag or airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 1 month. Reheat in a 350-degree F (176 C) oven until completely warmed through.