Allthough this is not the featured recipe on New Flavor new Year August month, it is still killer and follows the Italian theme (even thought I am not sure where in italy to find such a thing, but still).
With Fall coming around the corner, I am always trying to find ways to save the local and fresh ingredients I got right around now. Why not make meatballs that you can freeze for the whole winter. This recipe does state to use marinara, but look for the arugula pesto because that's not terrible either!
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 lbs unpeeled eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces (1 large or 2 small / mediumish sized)
1/4 tsp black pepper & kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp chopped basil, plus leaves for garnish
1 1/2 cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1 large egg, beaten
2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 -cup marinara Sauce
1 box 100% whole wheat pasta
Heat the oven to 375°F. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
Place 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. When hot add the eggplant and 1/4 cup water. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
Transfer to the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times
I like to wait and let it cool down a bit so that the egg does not cook against the hot eggplant and then you do not burn your hands.
Transfer to a bowl and add bread crumbs, beaten egg, Romano cheese, parsley, garlic and chopped basil into the eggplant. Season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper
Form the eggplant mixture into 24 balls about 1 1/8 oz each, rolling tightly and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Bake until firm and browned, about 20 to 25 minutes
Heat the sauce in a large deep skillet to warm the sauce. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes. Garnish the meatballs with basil leaves and serve with ricotta cheese if desired.
***** If freezing, I let them cool after cooking and skip the sauce until we are eating them.
Per 4 Meatballs (pasta not included) - 223 Calories, 33g Carbs, 8g Fat, 9g Protein