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Recipes // Main Dish Pasta // Linguine and Quinoa Meatballs with Tangy Tomato Sauce

Linguine and Quinoa Meatballs with Tangy Tomato Sauce

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Traditional meatballs depend on bread to give them a light body, but cooked quinoa is a great substitute and adds an extra protein punch.
Ingredients for the Sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 large carrot, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • One 28-ounce can tomatoes, chopped with juices
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients for the Meatballs
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound linguine
  • 1 large handful fresh basil leaves
Method
  1. To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and red pepper flakes and cook until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, garlic, and vinegar and simmer for 20 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside to keep warm.
  2. To make the meatballs, preheat the oven to 425F. Heat the canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, partially covered, until very soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the beef, quinoa, Parmesan, egg, parsley, salt, pepper, and cooled onions. Stir until a smooth, homogeneous mixture has formed.
  4. Roll the meat mixture into 2-inch balls and set them on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet in neat rows. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until nicely browned but still soft to the touch.
  5. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the linguine al dente. Serve the pasta with some meatballs and the sauce and top with a sprinkling of torn basil leaves.

Serves 6

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