Chinese Spaghetti and Meatballs (2008)


  • Salt
  • 1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 pound ground pork or chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups puffed rice cereal
  • Black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder (1/3 palmful)
  • 8 scallions, 2 finely chopped, 6 cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup Tamari (dark soy sauce), divided
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 cups snow peas, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 1 red bell pepper, very thinly sliced
  • 1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger root, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 pound triple-washed spinach, leaves stripped of larger stems and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, available on the Asian foods aisle of market
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, available on the Asian foods aisle of market


Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.

Place a pot of water on to boil for spaghetti. When it comes to a boil, salt the water, add the pasta and cook to al dente. Heads up: reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water just before draining.

Place the pork in a mixing bowl. Add the egg to the bowl. Place the rice cereal in a food processor and pulse into a breadcrumb like consistency. Add the cereal crumbs to the bowl.

Add salt, pepper, the five-spice powder, 2 chopped scallions and 2 tablespoons soy sauce to the bowl. Mix the meat balls thoroughly. Form 1 1/2-inch balls and coat with 1 tablespoon oil; scatter onto a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.

When the meatballs are close to done and the pasta is in, heat a large skillet over high heat with enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the skillet, a couple of tablespoons. Add the snow peas, red pepper, remaining cut scallions, ginger and garlic. Stir fry for 2 minutes, then add the spinach and wilt, 1 minute. Add the remaining soy sauce, about 1/3 cup, and the sesame oil, then drain, add in the pasta cooking water and toss to combine so that the pasta can soak up the sauce, about 1 minute.

Garnish with sesame seeds and top with lots of meatballs.

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