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.
SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS WITH GARLIC CRUMBS
Start to finish: 1 hour (30 minutes active)
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)