food for the mind

In the Kitchen

Spaghetti & Meatballs


  • 8oz of grass-fed beef
  • 1/2 zucchini, grated
  • sea salt
  • lemon zest from 1/4 organic lemon
  • EVOO
  • gluten-free pasta
  • fresh basil leaves, torn
  • heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • parmesan cheese (optional)


Boil enough water for the pasta. Add salt. While the water is boiling mix the grass-fed beef with the grated zucchini, lemon zest, sea salt and pepper. Roll into small balls.

When the water has boiled, add the pasta and cook according to the packet directions – usually 8 mins. Drain the pasta.  Pan fry the meatballs until they are golden. Add a small serving of pasta to a plate, top with heirloom tomatoes, basil, meatballs and parmesan cheese (optional).  Serve immediately.

Some days just call for comfort food… like a rainy Sunday at the beach.

Inspired by the basil plant on the kitchen table and a NY Times photo of meatballs and pesto, I set off to find grass-fed beef and gluten-free pasta. My options were the local IGA and the outrageously expensive Eli Zabar’s Amagansett Farmers Market. Fortunately for my wallet, the IGA had both. I’ll admit, I approached the IGA with moral pensiveness. I’ve been indoctrinated into the “supermarket = bad and farmers market = good” philosophy, and was half expecting the packaged goods to riot against me. “We’re not bad, we’ve dressed up pretty for you and you can read how wonderful we are. Most of America loves us Ms James and we’re not happy that you’re ostracizing us. We know you’ll have fun with us. Take us home now”. And take them home I did, but only the gluten-free pasta.

Lucky for me, they stocked my favorite Italian brand, Bionature, which uses potato as its base. If you aren’t sensitive to gluten, by all means use regular pasta. Gluten-free products aren’t necessarily healthier than non-gluten-free products. Pasta is a refined carb whether it’s made from wheat, potato, rice and even quinoa. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be part of your diet, it can, but in petite portion sizes.


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