Giant Italian Meatballs (& a low-carb noodle taste test)

During law school I lived with my Italian grandfather and we did a lot of cooking. The first time I served whole-wheat pasta I caught a mouth full – he considered whole wheat pasta blasphemy. I now only occasionally cook with whole wheat pasta, knowing that the texture and flavor really is inferior.  So when I saw low-carb pasta for the umpteenth time staring at me from the pasta aisle I decided to give it a try. It looked exactly like the semolina pasta I usually buy, as opposed to the noticeable whole wheat variety, so I was curious. If you rarely eat pasta, the whole white v. wheat v. low carb may not mean much to you – just go for the authentic white semolina Italian pasta. I, however, cook pasta at least once a week – I’m a carb feign, so anything to make it a little bit kinder on the blood sugar could be a good thing!

I tried the low-carb (Dreamfields brand) pasta with a classic spaghetti & meatballs recipe – I am happy to report I could have certainly fooled my grandfather with this stuff. The taste and texture is indistinguishable from regular semolina, high glycemic pasta and I even thought perhaps the texture was a bit silkier than the regular varieties. In any event I really enjoyed the pasta and highly recommend for those pasta lovers trying to cut carbs!

No matter the type of pasta you choose, this meatball recipe is outstanding. It is a classic meatball recipe but I only include pork and beef  because I don’t eat veal. I think you’ll be very happy without the veal as well.


  • 1.5 pounds mixed pork and beef
  • 1/4 bread crumbs soaked in 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 small minced onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 egg
  • S/P and dried Italian herbs to season
  • Spaghetti
  • Large jar marinara sauce
  • Parmesan cheese


Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Season generously.

Form into 4-6 large balls and brown on all sides in a large skillet with olive oil.

Add the marinara sauce and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook your pasta.

Spoon over hot spaghetti and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Serves: 4

Recipe source: Adapted from Food & Wine

Time: 45 minutes