Neapolitan Meatballs

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Neapolitan Meatballs

Neapolitan Meatballs

A touch of cinnamon distinguishes these delicious tomato-sauced meatballs. Adding whole-grain bulgur allows you to use less meat, resulting in meatballs with less than half the total fat and saturated fat of the original. Plus a vibrant-tasting combination of fresh and canned tomatoes in the sauce helps reduce the sodium by two-thirds. Serve with pasta, polenta or even on a whole-grain roll with a bit of melted part-skim mozzarella for a meatball sub.

Serves 8

Prep Time 60 min

Total Time 120 min.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup bulgur, (see Ingredient Note)
  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 28-ounce c diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups diced plum tomatoes, (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 cups cubed whole-wheat country bread
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 pound 93%-lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar, (optional)

Cooking Directions

Step 1

Place bulgur in a medium bowl and cover generously with hot water. Let soak for 30 minutes. Drain in a fine sieve, pressing to remove excess liquid.

Step 2

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, about 1 minute. Stir in canned tomatoes and plum tomatoes; increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Partially cover and let simmer while you prepare meatballs.

Step 3

Place bread in a medium bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak for a few minutes. Drain and squeeze out moisture.

Step 4

Whisk egg and egg white in a large bowl. Add the bulgur, the bread, beef, Parmesan, cinnamon, pepper and salt. Gently combine with a potato masher and/or your hands. Form into 20 oval meatballs about 2 inches long.

Step 5

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; blot with paper towels. Brown the remaining meatballs.

Step 6

Mash the simmering tomato sauce with a potato masher to break down any large chunks of tomato. Add the meatballs to the sauce. Simmer over low heat, partially covered, for 50 minutes.

Step 7

Taste the sauce and add sugar, if it seems tart, and additional pepper to taste. Serve the meatballs with the sauce.


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