Rocco DiSpirito's "My Mama’s Meatballs"
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 2 cloves garlic, divided
- 1/3 cup chopped onion, divided
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- 1 cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth, such as Swanson’s, divided
- 1 1/2 cups Redpack tomato purée
- 1 1/2 cups Redpack diced tomatoes
- 1/2 medium eggplant, cut in half lengthwise
- 6 ounces lean ground turkey breast, such as Jennie-O
- 4 ounces 96% lean ground beef, such as Laura’s Lean
- 2 ounces extra-lean ground pork, such as Farmer John
- 1 large egg white
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
- 1/2 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
- 2 cups puffed Kamut cereal, such as Arrowhead Mills
Preheat the broiler.
Coat a large skillet with 4 seconds of cooking spray. Add half the garlic and half the onion and a pinch of red pepper flakes, place over medium high heat and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add in half the chicken broth, all of the tomato purée and the diced tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Place the eggplant, cut side up on a broiler pan and broil until lightly browned, 4-6 minutes. Remove the eggplant from the broiler, place it on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high until tender, about 2 minutes. Let cool.
Scoop the eggplant pulp out of its skin and let any excess water drip off. Measure out 1/2 cup of the pulp, then chop it fine.
Combine the turkey, beef and pork in a large bowl. Place the egg white, the remaining chicken broth, remaining onion, remaining garlic and the parsley in a blender, and blend until finely chopped (not puréed), about 30 seconds. Add the mixture to the meat; add the Parmigiano and crumble the Kamut cereal in with your fingers. Add the eggplant, season with salt and red pepper flakes, and mix gently, using a wooden spoon or your hands until it forms a very thick wet paste.
Use a tablespoon to measure 16 equal heaping mounds onto a clean work surface and form the mounds into balls with your hands.
Coat a large nonstick skillet with 4 seconds of cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add half of the meatballs and cook until lightly browned on one side, about 1 minute. Roll the meatballs and brown on the other side, about 2 minutes. 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. Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook at a low simmer for 1 hour.
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