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Trimming a family classic.

Spaghetti and meatballs usually conceals a lot of fat and calories. This version doesn't

THE ALL-TIME FAMILY favorite, spaghetti and meatballs, often has high counts of fat and calories. You can easily trim this classic by making the meatballs from very lean beef mixed with soaked bulgur (cracked wheat). The grain absorbs juices from the meat, making the meatballs moist and tender; it also makes them expand. Oven-browning, instead of frying, is another lean step.

Because the meatballs will continue to soak up liquid, heat them only briefly in the sauce, then serve on pasta.

Low-fat Spaghetti and Meatballs

3/4 cup bulgur (cracked wheat)

3/4 pound fat-trimmed beef top round (or ground beef with 15 percent or less fat)

1 large (about 1/2 lb.) onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1/4 teaspoon pepper


1/2 pound mushrooms, rinsed and sliced

1 tablespoon dried basil leaves

1/4 teaspoon crushed dried hot red chilies

About 1 1/4 cups regular-strength beef broth

1 large can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes

1 pound dried spaghetti

Chopped parsley

Grated parmesan cheese

In a bowl, mix bulgur with 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Let stand until grains are tender to bite, about 15 minutes.

Cut beef into 1/2-inch cubes. Coarsely grind in a food processor or food chopper; mix beef, onion, 2 cloves garlic, oregano leaves, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Shape into 1/4-cup-size balls; place slightly apart in a lightly oiled 10- by 15-inch pan. Bake in a 425|degrees~ oven until balls are well browned, 25 to 30 minutes.

As meat cooks, in 5- to 6-quart pan combine mushrooms, remaining garlic, basil, chilies, and 1/4 cup water. Stir often over high heat until juices evaporate and vegetables begin to brown, about 10 minutes. To deglaze, add 1/4 cup broth; stir to free browned bits. Stir often until browned again. Repeat deglazing once or twice more, using 1/4 cup broth with each step, until mushrooms are browned. Add tomatoes. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add meatballs; cover and simmer about 5 minutes. (Meatballs absorb liquid quickly; if sauce sticks, stir in a little broth.)

Also, in a covered 5- to 6-quart pan on high heat, bring about 3 quarts water to a boil. Add spaghetti; cook, uncovered, just until barely tender to bite, 7 to 10 minutes; drain. In pan, bring 1/3 cup broth to a boil; add pasta and pour into a wide bowl. Top with sauce and parsley. Add salt and cheese to taste. Serves 5 or 6.

Per serving: 469 cal. (7.7 percent from fat); 28 g protein; 4 g fat (1 g sat.); 82 g carbo.; 257 mg sodium; 32 mg chol.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipe; low-calorie spaghetti
Author:Anusasananan, Linda Lau
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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