Pasta with Meatballs

I have yet to meet a child that does not love spaghetti and meatballs. Even though our family had to say goodbye to traditional pasta we still get to eat this favorite. I serve pasta with sauce once a week at my house, and I hope you will too.

2 lbs. ground beef (or you can use a mixture of beef, pork, and veal)
1 egg, slightly beaten
½ cup gluten-free breadcrumbs* (see note below)
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp. salt; additional to taste
¼ tsp. black pepper; additional to taste
¼ cup finely chopped onion; plus one whole onion, peeled
2-28 oz. cans tomato puree
1 handful of basil leaves, torn and finely shredded
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
½ cup olive oil
1 lb. gluten-free pasta (ex. Tinkyada, Bionaturae)

In large mixing bowl, combine meat, egg, bread crumbs, and oregano; half of the minced garlic, salt, pepper, and onion. Shape meat into walnut-sized meatballs. Heat 1/3 cup olive oil in frying pan under medium heat; add meatballs, and cook until done. In large pot, heat remaining olive oil under medium heat. Take whole onion, poke several times with toothpick**, then place in pot. Add remaining garlic and cook for one minute. Add tomato puree, basil leaves, and red pepper flakes. Place cooked meatballs in pot with sauce, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour, adding salt and pepper to taste—approximately ¼ tsp. or salt and ¼ tsp. of pepper is usually enough, but add more or less if you prefer. Prepare pasta as directed on package, and serve with sauce.

*Note: gluten-free breadcrumbs are available premade at some natural foods stores (like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s). You can make your own by toasting store bought gluten-free bread in the oven, then pulsing the toasted bread in your food processor (allow bread to cool down first).
**Note: My kids do not like the texture of diced onions in pasta sauce; so I cook the whole onion in the sauce, which gives the sauce the same flavor. You can use chopped onion if you like.

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