Spaghetti and tofu balls!

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Creamy ricotta and tofu balls served with a rich tomato and oregano sauce, along with wholegrain spaghetti.

I’m not going to lie, this is probably one of my most bizarre cooking experiments! I was watching a cooking programme where they were making meatballs and I thought to myself that there must be a way of making a tofu version?! I mixed the tofu with ricotta to add a creamy texture and to help bind the balls together (that’s a sentence you don’t get to use often!).

So balls didn’t turn out to be the most accurate description of my concoction in the end. Once shallow fried, they were actually more like mini tofu patties but still an interesting addition to the dish!

For the tomato sauce, I took inspiration from a cookbook I love called Easy Pasta. It’s not an exclusively veggie cookbook but does have many meat-free recipes. The tomato sauce comes from a cannelloni recipe on page 223.

Here are my methods for making this random recipe:

INGREDIENTS FOR BALLS (serves 2)
300g of tofu, fully drained and crumbled
150g ricotta
1 garlic clove, crushed
A handful of fresh basil, chopped
1 beaten egg
200g plain flour
5 tbs olive oil for frying

TOMATO SAUCE
800g cherry tomatoes
3tbs olive oil
2tsp dried oregano
1tsp sugar
Salt and black pepper for seasoning

100g wholegrain spaghetti

METHOD
I made the balls first and reheated them later.
1) Mix the tofu, ricotta, basil and garlic in a large bowl then add the egg to bind.
2) Heat oil in a frying pan, ensuring that the bottom of the pan is covered in oil.
3) Scoop up a palm-sized amount of the mixture roll into a ball, roll in some flour and carefully add to the oil.
4) Fry 3 balls at a time. Ensure the balls are cooked all over, then leave on kitchen roll in order to absorb the oil.
5) For the sauce, place tomatoes in a large pan. Add the oil, cover with a lid and allow the tomatoes to splutter for 10 minutes, cooking the spaghetti in the meantime.
6) Uncover the tomatoes and stir so that they break down into a sauce. Add the sugar and oregano and leave to simmer for a further 10 minutes.
7) Reheat the balls for a minute in the microwave, if necessary.
8) To serve, add the balls on top of the spaghetti and pour over the sauce. Add a few shavings of veggie hard cheese and some basil leaves for garnishing,

This did taste slightly strange but in a good way! Due to the soft texture of the tofu, the balls did breakdown slightly but added a thickness to the sauce. If the tofu balls don’t sound like your thing, even the wholegrain spaghetti with the sauce makes a tasty and healthy dish!

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