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Spaghetti and Roasted “Impossiballs” with Rachael Ray

Makes 24 balls

My hubby says these roasted meatballs are better than the real thing- and that’s saying a lot! If you aren’t using plant-based meat, you can use regular 80/20 ground beef. If you have leftover balls (we never do), these will make an excellent hoagie style sandwich. I like to serve this with salad or garlic bread.


Garbage bowl

1 Large sauce pot (for the sauce)

1 Large mixing bowl (to mix the balls)

2 Small bowls

1 Baking sheet

Parchment paper

Foil (if you want an easier cleanup)

1 Large pot (to cook the pasta)


1 Heat-proof cup or mug (for the pasta water)

1 Colander or strainer


For the Pasta:

1 box of Barilla® Spaghetti or Linguine 

(1 pound will feed 4-6 people and 1 1/2 pounds will feed closer to 8 people)

For the Tomato-Basil Sauce:

2 Tablespoons EVOO, extra virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, plus some extra to toss the pasta

2 Tablespoons butter, plus some extra to toss the pasta

4 cloves garlic, thin sliced, crushed or grated


2, 28 ounce cans whole San Marzano tomatoes

1 jar (24 ounces) tomato passata, or 3 cups of tomato puree

A big handful of basil leaves, torn

Sprinkle of sugar, optional

For the Roasted “Impossiballs”:

2 packs (12 ozs each), 24 ounces plant-based meat, or ground sirloin 80/20 blend

1/2 cup breadcrumbs (if using ground beef, use 1 cup)

3 Tablespoons whole milk (1/3 cup if using more breadcrumbs)

1 egg

2 cups parmigiano and/or pecorino romano cheese, store-bought, grated and loosely packed

1/2 cup (a big handful) flat-leaf parsley, loosely packed and then fine chopped

1 teaspoon dry ground oregano, about 1/3 palmful

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, about 1/3 palmful, optional

1 teaspoon fennel seed or fennel pollen, about 1/3 palmful

Kosher salt


Preheat ovens to 425 F with the rack set in the center at the start of camp. Place a large pot of water over high heat to boil at the start of camp.

Place a large sauce pot over medium low to medium heat, add oil and butter. Stir in the garlic, season with salt and cook for 1-2 minutes or until very fragrant, making sure not to burn the garlic. Add in the tomatoes and passata, stir, bring to a light bubble, lower the heat a bit, add in half of torn basil and sprinkle of sugar if you like a sweeter sauce and let cook for about 20-30 minutes.

Place plant-based meat in a big mixing bowl.

Place breadcrumbs in a small bowl and moisten with the milk.

Crack the egg into another small bowl and scramble. (Rach will explain how to remove the shell if you accidentally get some in the bowl.)

To the bowl of plant-based meat, add the moistened breadcrumb, egg, 1 cup of the cheese, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes if using, fennel seed and season with salt. Mix together and score into 4 equal size portions. Each quarter should give you about 6 balls. Place the balls on a foil and parchment lined baking sheet and lightly spray with cooking spray. Place in the oven and roast until lightly brown, about 15 minutes (for plant-based meat) or closer to 18 minutes (if using real meat). Remove and let rest.

When you are ready to cook the pasta, generously salt the water and add pasta. Have a heat-proof cup or mug near the pot to reserve some of the starchy cooking water. For al dente pasta, remove the pasta from the pot 1 minute before the package directions say to do so and drain.

Add the pasta back to the pot. Add 2 tablespoons total of butter and/or EVOO to the pasta along with the remaining cup of cheese and some pasta water. Add about half of the tomato-basil sauce and stir vigorously with tongs to emulsify the sauce to the pasta.

Add the meatballs to the remaining sauce in the pot and stir to coat. Plate the pasta family-style or serve in shallow bowls. Top with the meatballs, more sauce and remaining basil and pass more cheese at the table.

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