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LOW-FAT COOKING

Saucy, Rich and Lean

September 19, 1996|DONNA DEANE | TIMES TEST KITCHEN DIRECTOR

With school underway and cooler evenings right around the corner, we begin to think of fall cooking. Spaghetti and meatballs is a favorite cool weather dish that is even better when it's done the low-fat way.

Forget those high-fat meatballs and rich sausages. Ground turkey is leaner and, when cooked in the sauce, gives a rich taste. Make this dish a day ahead, and it will taste even better.

The easy red sauce is made with fresh Roma tomatoes and tomato paste simmered with herbs and garlic. Adding the water is an old trick that gives you a smooth sauce that is ample enough to cook the meatballs in.

TURKEY MEATBALLS IN RED SAUCE

MEATBALLS

1 pound ground turkey

1/2 cup nonfat egg substitute

1/2 cup fat-free saltine crackers (about 12 crackers)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons minced onion

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons nonfat milk

1 teaspoon salt

Dash of pepper

RED SAUCE

Olive oil cooking spray

1 large onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

2 pounds Roma tomatoes, peeled and diced

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

2 teaspoons dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 quart water

MEAT BALLS

Lightly mix together turkey, egg substitute, crushed saltines, Parmesan cheese, onion, garlic, milk, salt and pepper. Shape into 32 meatballs. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to add to sauce.

RED SAUCE

Spray heavy bottomed 5-quart Dutch oven with olive oil cooking spray. Add onion and cook until it begins to brown. Add garlic and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir in water. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring. Gently drop meatballs into bubbling sauce. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over thin spaghetti.

Makes 8 servings.

Each serving, without spaghetti, contains about:

135 calories; 1,053 mg sodium; 30 mg cholesterol; 3 grams fat; 14 grams carbohydrates; 14 grams protein; 1.05 grams fiber.

* Dinner plate from Pallets of Plates, South Pasadena.

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