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Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs

Yields1 ServingPrep Time20 minsCook Time6 hrsTotal Time6 hrs 20 mins

Who doesn't love and often crave comfort-food spaghetti and meatballs on a regular basis. This terrific recipe is almost verbatim from one of my all-time fave online Gluten-Free resources, Nicole Hunn of glutenfreeonashoestring.com. Who adapted it from Fine Cooking.

The Meatballs:
 1.50 coarse gluten-free bread crumbs (2 or 3 slices gluten-free bread chopped or pulsed 2 or 3 times in a food processor [leave the crusts on])
 1 cup dry red wine
 1 lb lean ground pork
 1 lb lean ground beef (I use 10% fat or less)
 1 egg, beaten
 1 tbsp dried oregano, crushed in a mortar and pestle
 2 tsp dried basil
 0.50 tsp garlic powder
 1 tsp onion powder
 1 tsp salt
 0.13 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
 2 Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated (or non-dairy alternative)
The Sauce:
 128 can tomato puree
 2 tbsp concentrated tomato paste
 1 tbsp dried oregano, crushed in a mortar and pestle
 2 tsp dried basil
 1 tsp garlic powder
 1 tsp salt
 0.13 tsp freshly ground black pepper
 0.50 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
 1 tsp chili powder (optional)
 0.50 tsp culinary lavender, ground in a mortar and pestle (optional)
 2 tbsp assorted fresh herbs (Italian parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, etc.), finely chopped (optional)
First:
1

Place the breadcrumbs and wine in a small bowl and combine. Allow the breadcrumbs to soak in the wine while you prepare the sauce.

Prepare the Sauce:
2

In the crock of a slow-cooker (I used my 3.5 quart but any size 3.5 and up will do), place all of the tomato sauce ingredients and whisk ot combine well.

Make the Meatballs:
3

In a large bowl, place the ground pork and ground beef, and break up the meat gently with your fingers.

4

Add the remaining meatball ingredients in the order listed, mixing gently to combine with your fingers. Do not overwork the meat or the meatballs will be tough.

5

Add the breadcrumb mixture and mix until just combined with your fingers.

6

Divide the meatball mixture into 12 to 14 pieces and roll each gently into a ball.

Finishing:
7

Nestle each meatball into the tomato sauce in the crock.

8

Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours until the meatballs are cooked through. They can remain on your slow cooker's WARM setting for up to 1 1/2 hours. Sprinkle in the chopped fresh herbs and cook on HIGH for 5 to 10 minutes to finish.

9

Prepare the gluten-free pasta of your choice according to package directions. Drain.

10

Turn cooked meatballs over in the sauce to coat completely. Place pasta on plate and cover with 2 to 3 meatballs and adequate sauce. Top with grated Parmesan or Parmesan alternative).