Monday, March 22, 2010

Low-Fat Penne with Vodka Sauce with Meatballs

So two of my favorite things to eat are meatballs and vodka sauce but neither are very low calorie. I found 2 recipes which Denis and I love that are so easy and low fat. We have tried a few vodka sauces and despite the fact that this is low fat it is by far our favorite. I made them for my sister Aileen, Denis and I on a really snowy night (during the blizzard of 2010)! It is always nice to have a big pasta meal on a cold night, with a cold glass of wine.

Penne with Vodka Sauce
Weight Watchers
Serves 6

1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 medium shallot(s), minced (about 1/2 cup)
2 medium garlic cloves(s), minced
2 tbsp parsley, fresh, minced
1/2 small sea salt or other course salt
1/4 black pepper, freshly ground
2 tbsp canned tomato paste
2 oz vodka
1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste (for cooking pasta)
12 oz uncooked penne
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
20 leaves basil, fresh, cut into ribbons (chiffonade)

Heat a large skillet over a medium-low heat. Add butter, shallots and garlic; saute until shallots start to caramelize, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add parsely, sea salt and pepper, stirring once or twice. Add tomato paste and mix to form paste. Cook for about 5 minutes, moving paste around pan occasionally; add vodka. Scrap bottom of pan with a spoon and cook for about 5 minutes more.

Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Cook paste according to package directions; drain.

Add cream to tomato sauce; reduce heat to low and simmer for about 3 minutes. Add pasta to sauce and mix to coat; top basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Yields about 1 cup per serving.

7 Weight Watchers points

Scrumptious Skinny Meatballs
Cook Yourself Thin
Serves 4

2 12 oz to 14 oz jars of your favorite marinara (we love Classico Marinara with Plum tomatoes and olive oil)
2 slices of your favorite sandwich bread
3/4 cup water
1/3 lb ground veal
1/3 lb ground pork
1/3 lb ground turkey
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 large egg
1/2 small onion, finely minced
1/3 cup chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped basil
1 tsp oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Heat marinara sauce in a large , wide pot over medium heat. Cover to prevent splattering.

Remove crusts from bread, place bread in a medium bowl and pour water over. Let sit 10 minutes, and gently squeeze out excess liquid. Put bread in a large bowl, discard water.

Add all the ground meats, cheese, egg, onion, parsley, basil, oregano, salt and red pepper flakes to bowl with bread. Gently toss to combine, maintaining a light touch to keep air in the meatballs (don't squish the meat too much, or you'll end up with tough meatballs). Roll the meat mixture in your hands to create meatballs slightly larger than a golf ball.

Remove marinara sauce from heat to prevent splattering, gently drop the meatballs in the warm sauce. Return tomato sauce to medium-low heat, bring to a simmer and cook, covered, until meatballs have cooked through, about 30 minutes.

This recipe can also be paired with whole wheat spaghetti. If you choose to make with spaghetti cook 8 oz of whole wheat spaghetti according to package, toss with marinara sauce, and top with meatballs.

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