Springtime Spinach Pasta: a Spin on Meatballs and Starch
Updated: May 2, 2020
Amongst many belly pictures in my mid-June Iphone photos section, I found photos of this recipe (which were poorly shot, during the bad part of the golden hour, but not the point because this is a newer version), which is a meatball pasta made for spring and summer. It is light, filled with spinach (you know me, if it's not drowning in kale or spinach, something is utterly wrong) and well, delicious. Note: as our entire society is going through a don't-go-to-the-store moment, I made today's version with kale found in my fridge, which I sliced ever-so-thinly. But don't be fooled, it does NOT have the smooth, velvety feeling spinach will offer in such a pasta dish. Also, don't go to the store for 1 item, prepare your outings or order online, don't be twats. Moving on.
Looking back, mid-June was a bittersweet time, I was filled with excitement with our baby's arrival on the one hand but also getting very tired of feeling increasingly heavy, dizzy and scared that my girl was running out a space in there- which she was by the way, fetal macrosomia is terrifying. So looking back on that night when I hosted my parents with bowls of summertime meatball pasta, I see just how much I craved normalcy and their company. It also gives me hope that Ella will always need me, because I felt so soothed to be around them during this stressful time.
Back to the pasta. The sautéed onion will give a sweet touch to the leafy, beefy dish and balance out perfectly with herbs such as basil and oregano. And bubbly Chardonnay.
For the pasta,
Spaghettini (1 box)
Yellow onion (1 large, chopped)
Kale (half a bunch, thinly sliced)
Preferably: an entire bag of spinach
For the meatballs,
Shallot (1, thinly sliced)
Yellow onion (half, chopped)
Parm (3/4 cup)
Bread crumbs (1/2 cup)
Dried oregano (tons?)
Ground Beef (1 pack)
Worcestershire sauce (4 tbsp- my package was a little bigger than usual, you could go for 2-3)
A few simple steps,
1. In a large bowl, combine all meatball ingredients (you typically have to whisk the egg beforehand but I like placing it as such for pictures, sue me!) and mix thoroughly with your hands. Create balls a little larger than an inch in diameter and place them on a lightly oiled baking pan.
2. Bake the meatballs in the oven for approximately 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium heat, toss olive oil and onion with salt and pepper for 2-3 minutes, until lightly golden.
4. Add kale and stir for 7-10 minutes, until tender. I like to add olive oil once or twice to tenderise the leaves. Set aside.
5. While the kale cooks, bring a medium pot of salt water to boil and cook pasta according to instructions. Drain and put back in the pot, away from heat.
6. Add the kale mixture to your pasta and, while adding olive oil, salt and pepper for taste, toss.
7. Add a few meatballs to your bowl, and mix. Voilà!
And, just for laughs, here is a blurry, my-belly-is-too-heavy-for-me photo that I took of this recipe back in June of 2019. It's okay to look back and giggle a bit. I'm proud of this very heavy pregnant woman who still cooked every single meal for the household, no matter how tired. And swollen.