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Published: Saturday, 1/19/2008

Spaghetti and Meatballs


Tip from actor Danny DeVito improves an old standby

Actor Danny DeVito told me in an interview that his meatballs are so good he insisted they appear on the menu of his new restaurant, Devito South Beach. I based this easy dinner on his mouth-watering description.

Mixing the ground sirloin with water-soaked bread makes the meatballs light and fluffy. Add a salad and dinner is served.

Helpful hints: If you mix the meat in a food processor, don't overprocess or it will become too compact. Turn the meatballs with a flat spatula to avoid breaking them.

2 slices whole wheat bread

1/2 pound lean ground sirloin

2 medium garlic cloves, crushed

8 fresh sage leaves, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried sage)

1/2 cup frozen chopped onion

2 tablespoons raisins

1 large egg

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 cup pasta sauce

4 ounces spaghetti

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil.

Meanwhile, pour 1 cup water over bread and set aside. Place sirloin, garlic, sage, onion, raisins and egg in a bowl or food processor. Squeeze the bread dry and add it to the meat mixture; pulse or stir just to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Form into 4 balls.

Heat oil in a small nonstick skillet. Brown the meatballs on all sides, about 5 minutes. Mix pasta sauce with 3/4 cup water and add to pan. Simmer 10 minutes, carefully turning the meatballs once.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in boiling water according to package instructions. Drain and divide between 2 plates. Top with meatballs and sauce.

Yield: 2 servings

Per serving: 638 calories (27 percent from fat), 19.2 g fat (4.4 g saturated, 9.6 g monounsaturated), 175 mg cholesterol, 39.4 g protein, 76.2 g carbohydrates, 6.5 g fiber, 638 mg sodium

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