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Categories: Fish and Shellfish, Mains

Spaghetti and monkfish meatballs

Spaghetti and monkfish meatballs
Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Spaghetti and meatballs isn't just good comfort food, it's the kind of food that you crave with a beautiful desperation, that you secretly prefer to those precious items on chic tasting menus, that you'd want for your last meal. Be ... Read more

Total time: 2 hours | Serves 6
  • 1 cup coarse country-style bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 pounds monkfish fillets
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/8 cup drained and chopped capers, plus 1 tablespoon whole capers (drained), divided
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced San Marzano or other plum tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced basil
  • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound spaghetti

Step 1Place the bread crumbs in a small bowl and cover with water to soak.

Step 2Remove any membrane from the monkfish and discard. Chop the monkfish into small pieces and place in a food processor; pulse a few times until the fish is coarsely ground, being careful not to over-process. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Step 3Squeeze the water from the breadcrumbs and add the breadcrumbs to the fish, along with the egg, parsley, the one-eighth cup chopped capers, 1 teaspoon salt and the black pepper. Mix the ingredients thoroughly with your hands and then form the mixture into balls, using about one-eighth cup for each meatball. Set on a tray, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. This makes about 30 meatballs.

Step 4Add the olive oil and the onions to a large saute pan over medium heat. Cook the onions until soft (turning the heat to low if they begin to brown), 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add the can of tomatoes plus the juice, basil, one-half teaspoon salt, the olives, 1 tablespoon whole capers and the red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce to low, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Check the pan occasionally, stirring once or twice to make sure the sauce isn't sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Step 5After 30 minutes, add the meatballs to the sauce, arranging them on top of the sauce. Cover and continue to simmer for 30 more minutes.

Step 6Meanwhile, bring 6 quarts of water and the remaining 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil in a large pot. When the meatballs have cooked 30 minutes, take the pan off the heat and cook the pasta, and drain. Serve the meatballs and sauce over the spaghetti.

Each serving:
589 calories; 31 grams protein; 79 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 16 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 64 mg. cholesterol; 1,135 mg. sodium.
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