Lamb Meatballs in Cumin-Scented Sauce Over Spaghetti Squash

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Thank you all for your support in trying to get my cioppino into the top 3 Bertolli Menu Items so I can share it at the Foodbuzz Festival later this week. Voting is now over and the final results are being tallied, but it’s looking pretty good! :) I promised you that I would share my other entry – the one that wasn’t chosen to be on the menu – and thought that today would be a good day to share. Following my theme of “not Italian,” I decided to make some meatballs with a Middle Eastern flare. These tender lamb meatballs are flavored with a touch of cinnamon and simmered in a cumin-scented sauce. I served the over a bed of spaghetti squash and wilted spinach and topped them with some sauteed onion. I really liked how this looked just like traditional spaghetti and meatballs, but tasted nothing like it! I also thought that adding the cumin to the sauce was a nice way to transform jarred sauce into something a little more special. As with the cioppino, I thought that this was a strong entry, but I agree with the judges that the cioppino was slightly better. Shawn preferred this dish.

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Spaghetti squash is really fun, and I’m always excited when I start seeing them pop up in the store again. When you cook it, the fibers of the squash separate into long strands that look a lot like spaghetti. The flavor is milld so it can be prepared in a lot of different ways but one of the most common uses is as a stand-in for spaghetti like I did with this dish. Used as a substitute for pasta, its a great way to lighten up a dish as well as add some more nutrients.
There are a few different way to cook a spaghetti squash, but I’ve been surprised to se that a lot of bloggers have been roasting them – I prefer to boil mine. I find that boiling the squash whole is a lot easier because it softens that tough outer shells and makes it a lot easier to cut into. Otherwise, you have to battle with a tough squash that rolls all over the place while you try to cut it in half and remove the seeds. So much easier to do that after its cooked! I also find that boiling the squash keeps the individual strands from drying out as much as roasted it does – this keeps them nice and plump, with a softer texture that’s closer to spaghetti.
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Lamb Meatballs in Cumin-Scented Sauce Over Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 5 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 tsp cumin, divided
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 jar Bertolli Olive Oil and Garlic sauce
  • 2 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • cracked black pepper
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups baby spinach, torn into bite-sized pieces

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add whole spaghetti squash. Let boil for 30 minutes, or until flesh of squash can be easily pierced with a fork.

Prepare the meatballs: Combine lamb, scallions, cinnamon, 1 tsp cumin, allspice, salt, breadcrumbs, and egg in a large bowl. Use your hands to gently mix – you want everything to be incorporated, but you don’t want to over mix it and turn it to mush. Form mixture into rounds approximately the size of golf balls. Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a large, deep-sided sautee pan over high heat. Add meatballs in batches, searing quickly on all sides until they are browned and a thin crust forms – this should take about 2 minutes.
Discard oil. Add all meatballs to the pan, along with the sauce, vinegar, ½ tsp cumin, and black pepper. Bring to a gently boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes – until sauce thickens slightly and meatballs are cooked through.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp olive oil in a small pan. Add onion, and cook over low heat until onion is soft and begin to brown- about 10 minutes.
Cut squash in half and discard seeds. Use a form to gently scrape out flesh – it should come out in long strands that resemble spaghetti. Toss with spinach; allow the heat of the squash to slightly wilt the spinach. To serve, arrange squash and spinach on a plate. Top with meatballs and sauce. Garnish with onions.
Serves 6
Approx. 506 calories, 33 grams fat, 7.7 gras fiber, 21 grams protein (using grass-fed lamb will result in lower levels of calories and fat)

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Comments

  1. How nice that you’ll be able to attend the Foodbuzz Festival. I’m sure you’ll have a great time. I have a spaghetti squash sitting on my counter. I’m going to try your method of boiling it. If it doesn’t, my cousin Vinnie will be paying you a visit :-). Have a great day.

  2. I have hear so much about this squash, but have never sen it here.
    Meat balls look so yumm too.

  3. I love spaghetti squash and actually had it the other night. It is so neat how it works. I think I will have to try the lamb meatballs…I love lamb and the cumin and cinnamon sound like a perfect seasoning for them.

  4. What a great “other Bertolli” recipe! I love lamb meatballs and that’s a creative use of the sauce! Hoping to see you in the Bertolli kitchens!

  5. I use spaghetti squash with some frequency but have never boiled them. I either microwave them or roast them in the oven. It’s all about what you do with them once they’re cooked…I like your intrepretation presented here. I’m also hoping to taste your ciopppino on Saturday! :)

  6. Awesome recipe. There haven’t been any spaghetti squash in my farmer’s market yet. I’m hoping they’d have some soon.

    I’m now craving for some meatballs.

  7. We love lamb – what a great recipe. Beautiful photos too.
    Sam

  8. I love how delicious this looks! I have yet to make spaghetti squash but see them all the time at my local farm market. Also I’m in love with these meatballs! I need some now:)

  9. Natasha - 5 Star Foodie says:

    Cumin-scented sauce sounds fantastic with these delicious lamb meatballs!

  10. Looking forward to meeting you this weekend! Delicious recipe. Spaghetti squash is one of the most fun vegetables because of the way it looks and how you can use it. Nice.

  11. I never eat lamb, I will have to try this. ☺

  12. This recipe looks amazing; I always combine cumin and cinnamon together…so delishy! Love the lamb meatballs and squash combo..I’ll have to try this, thank you. I’m looking forward to meeting you on Friday in San Fran for the Foodbuzz Festival…I can’t wait!

  13. OH my, that looks heavenly. And what a spice combination!

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