Sarah Graham loves all things gluten free. She also loves local & organically grown food. She also loves dessert. That can be difficult for someone with a gluten intolerance, yet she perseveres. Sarah runs her own gluten free blog Gluten Girl in Austin, is the Austin Gluten Free Food Examiner and interns at a local organic food company helping plan events. She works a “boring” job in real estate to support her love of food and gluten free dessert. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah’s Recipe: Grandma Dorothy’s Spaghetti & Meatballs
Sarah’s Tip: Cook with love
Why does all of America pretty much detest Mr. Ex Sandra Bullock (Jesse James)? Well because we love Sandra. Her engaging and down to earth personality has won her many fans over the years, but she’s never had as many as she does now. When we found out Jesse James cheated on her, the nation embraced Sandra with magazine covers, standing ovations and more positive press than most get in an entire career. It’s kind of silly isn’t it? That we think we know a person without ever having met or spoken to her? Yet we feel a connection with her through films & interviews. We relate. It feels like we know her.
Unfortunately, my life began close to the end of grandmother Dorothy’s. I don’t remember her. I wish I did. The things I know of her are the lovely memories others have, her delicious meatball recipe, and my personal favorite, that I sometimes remind people of her. It’s my laugh or my smile or my nose. It’s hard to miss a person you never met, but sometimes I do. She was a good cook. I am not…not yet anyway. She had a delicious spaghetti & meatball recipe that my mother reprises from time to time. When Diane called for recipes, I knew I wanted to try it myself.
I almost felt nervous about attempting the dish. I wanted to be sure I got it right, that I made my grandmother proud. As the sauce simmered, I watchfully tended to it for over an hour. I pictured Dorothy doing the same in her kitchen, albeit with less nerves than I.
I gently rolled the meatballs in gluten free breadcrumbs and thought about what she and I might have chatted about over lunch. Did our laughs really sound alike? Was her nose pointy like mine? Throughout the two hour cooking process, as I followed each step, it felt a little bit like meeting my grandma. No, I don’t have a memory I can reckon back to when I think of her, but cooking her spaghetti helped me feel her spirit, her presence. I felt like I knew her, just like we feel like we know Sandra, and I don’t care if it’s silly.
Now I share her love with you and ask that you pass it on. Maybe not through this recipe but one that is special to you. So many days we need a quick & easy meal, me more than anyone. But some lazy days, it’s nice to set aside a few hours to relive a family tradition like grandma’s meatballs or mom’s apple pie or dad’s bbq chicken and to really put love into what you are cooking. Then pass the recipes on to your children, and your children’s children. Let your love live on. It may not seem like it means much now, but maybe one day it may help someone you don’t even know feel close to you, even if just for a meal.
Grandma Dorothy’s Spaghetti & Meatballs
Note: I encourage the use of local produce when possible. I purchased the onion, pork, bison, parsley, garlic, eggs and mozzarella from the local farmer’s market.
1 chopped onion
3 tbsp oil (any kind, I used olive)
1 lg can tomatoes (sauce or crushed will work)
2 six oz cans tomato paste
1 ½ c water
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 bay leaf
Brown onion in oil. Add other ingredients & simmer for one hour. While simmering, make the meatballs.
¾ lb ground bison (or sub ground beef, turkey, etc)
¼ lb ground pork
¾ c gluten free breadcrumbs
½ c grated parmesan cheese (finely grated)
1 sprig parsley, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ c milk
1 well beaten egg
salt & pepper to your preference
Combine ingredients into balls and brown in large skillet.
A note about the breadcrumbs/wet ingredients: I recommend adding the wet ingredients last so that you can judge if you need more or less based on how your breadcrumbs absorb them. I tried Glutino’s brand in my recipe, and they did not absorb. Therefore I had to use less wet ingredients than you will if you use a better kind of breadcrumbs. You might need to up the milk to ½ c or eggs to 2 if you use something more absorbent.
Cook until done inside. Add meatballs to sauce & cook an additional 15 minutes on low heat. While cooking, boil gluten free pasta. I used Tinkyada organic spaghetti. If you use the whole bag, you’ll still have extra sauce, so just make what pasta you’ll eat and save the sauce for leftovers.
Remove bay leaf from sauce. Top cooked noodles with sauce & sprinkle with Parmesan or mozzarella cheese if desired & serve.
What a lovely recipe! I love family recipes like this – even if you didn't know the person that created it!
Sarah, I thought you did a lovely job with this post and the recipe! It looks totally delicious and it's so nice that you are carrying on a family tradition. 🙂 I'm all about cooking with love! Meals taste so much better when they are made that way. 😉