Most grocers now offer a wide variety of gluten-free pastas; experiment until you find a favorite. To accommodate diners who don't have gluten sensitivities, make the sauce and meatballs as directed and serve with regular and gluten-free pastas.


Start to finish: 1 hour (30 minutes active)

Servings: 4

1 pound ground beef chuck

1 small yellow onion, grated

5 cloves garlic (2 grated, 2 smashed and 1 chopped)

1 cup rice cereal crumbs, divided

1/2 cup rice milk

1 large egg

6 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes

12-ounce package corn or rice spaghetti

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste

In a large bowl, combine the beef, onion, chopped garlic, 1/2 cup of the rice cereal crumbs, milk, egg, 2 tablespoons of the parsley and 1 teaspoon salt. Shape into eight 2-inch balls.

In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium. Add the smashed garlic and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Submerge the meatballs in the sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Season with about 1 teaspoon salt.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions until al dente, about 15 minutes. Drain and toss with the sauce.

To make the garlic crumbs, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium. Add the grated garlic, remaining 1/2 cup of rice cereal crumbs, red pepper flakes and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool, then stir in the remaining 4 tablespoons parsley.

To serve, divide the spaghetti among shallow bowls and top with meatballs and garlic crumbs.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 664 calories; 135 calories from fat (21 percent of total calories); 15 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 114 mg cholesterol; 100 g carbohydrate; 35 g protein; 7 g fiber; 641 mg sodium.

(Recipe from Silvana Nardone's "Cooking for Isaiah," Sprig, 2010)

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