A fellow Canadian blogger, Johanne, @ French Gardener dishes recently posted a gorgeous dish that caught my eye. If you are new to Johanne’s blog, I urge you to visit and take a look around. She’s a creative cook and gardener and her blog definitely reflects that. We bonded over just that….our love of food, gardening and entertaining. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting Johanne in person. She’s just a wealth of information when it comes to those areas.
My husband is a great fan of spaghetti and meatballs. I do love spoiling him every so often with his favorite meals, and when these savory meatballs were presented on a plate, he was grinning from ear to ear. The best part of this meal is taking some shortcuts and baking the meatballs and the sauce at the same time. Adding grated squash to the meatballs renders them moist and succulent. The sauce is bursting with Mediterranean flavors and is sure to be a favorite in your home as it is in ours. I adapted Johanne’s recipe and added some Italian flavors as well. A hodge-podge of Mediterranean flavors makes this dish so versatile. Click on the link above to get to Johanne’s recipe with more precise measurements. My cooking tends to be a bit of this, a bit of that and a lot of times I adapt recipes to suit our tastes.
Here’s what I did. I grated some fresh garden squash into the ground chicken, making sure I pressed out all the water real well. I then grated a few pods of garlic, also from the garden. I added some flat leaf parsley, oregano, Italian seasoning, basil, dill, panko bread crumbs, ground fennel, salt, pepper and an egg to bind it all together. I scooped about a tablespoon or more of the meatball mixture and formed them into little balls.
In a separate pan, I chopped up some onion and sauteed it with lots of fresh garlic, and green pepper in extra virgin olive oil. Tossed in a can of crushed tomatoes, chopped up parsley, fresh basil, oregano, Italian seasonings, a sprinkling of red chili pepper flakes and let the sauce simmer for a few minutes till it thickened. To assemble, I placed about a third of the sauce in a pan, placed the meatballs on top of the sauce, then topped with more sauce and finally spread crumbled feta over the entire dish and baked it uncovered in the oven for about half an hour.