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Spaghetti with Lentil Meatballs and Roasted Tomato Sauce

This Spaghetti with Lentil Meatballs features "meat" balls made of mushrooms, white beans, and lentils covered in a roasted tomato sauce.
Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 20 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

Slow Roasted Tomato Sauce

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 4 beefsteak tomatoes cut into wedges
  • 1 head garlic top lobbed off
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves tightly packed
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • ½ cup dry white wine

Lentil Meatballs

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 227g (8oz) cremini mushrooms sliced
  • cups vegetable stock
  • 1 (540ml, 18 fl oz.) can white beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup dried green lentils
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg

To Assemble

  • 454g (1lb) dried spaghetti
  • ½ cup Grana Padano shredded
  • Fresh basil leaves for serving

Instructions
 

For the Roasted Tomato Sauce

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F
  • Place the cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, and head of garlic cut-side-up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle evenly with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt. Place the sheet in the oven and roast for two hours.
  • Once the two hours are up, transfer the tomatoes to a large food processor. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their husks and place them in the food processor as well. Add the basil and blitz until smooth.
  • With the food processor running on low, stream in the vegetable stock and white wine. Transfer the sauce to a large deep skillet and simmer for 15 minutes. This is a good time to cook your pasta according to the package's directions.

For the Meatballs

  • While the tomatoes are roasting, you can work on the meatballs. Pour the olive oil in a large skillet and heat until shimmering. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Saute over medium-low until just translucent. Stir in the basil, crushed red pepper flakes, and fennel seeds. Saute until fragrant.
  • Add the mushrooms to the skillet and saute until browned. Remove the veg with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
  • Deglaze the skillet with the veggie stock and add the beans, lentils, thyme, bay leaves, and a generous sprinkling of salt. Bring the mixture up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Let cook for 15-20 minutes or until the lentils are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Remove a cup-worth of the beans and lentils and set aside. Place the onion and mushrooms mixture in a large food processor. Add the remaining beans and lentils and blitz until smooth.
  • Place the puree in a large bowl and add the reserved beans and lentils back in. Add the breadcrumbs and the egg and, using a clean hand, mix until all the ingredients are well integrated. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the mixture out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refine the shape of each scoop, then refrigerate the meatballs until ready to bake.
  • At this point, the tomatoes should be ready to come out of the oven. Once you remove the tomatoes, increase the oven's temperature to 375°F. Once the oven is up, place the meatballs in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.

To Assemble

  • Create a nest of pasta in four bowls. Place 2-3 meatballs on top and cover with the sauce. Finish each bowl with a sprinkling of cheese and a few fresh basil leaves.
Keyword cremini mushrooms, Lentils, spaghetti, tomato sauce, white bean