Summer Garden Spaghetti and Meatballs

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Summer Garden Spaghetti and Meatballs
Summer Garden Spaghetti with Meatballs from Spinach Tiger

Summer Garden Spaghetti means I picked all these vegetables from my own garden. I made naked meatballs. They have no sauce; they need no sauce. They are just too good all on their own.

We love pasta, but in the summer, it has to be on the lighter side. Even my meat needs to be lighter, and that is how I arrived at naked meatballs. Usually meatballs (in America) are in a heavy tomato sauce or a gravy, but in Italy the meatballs known as polpetti are sauce free and a second course.

The surprise in the meatballs is the fresh basil. Unlike my other meatball recipes, this is all beef, and yet Doug now . I made these on a whim one day and then forgot what I did. So just for you, I made them again, and I wrote down the exact recipe.

I now keep a small standing white board in the kitchen for just such times, because I’m a bit of a nut when I’m cooking. You get to see a finished product on a pretty plate all “company” ready. But, if the kitchen ceiling could talk, what a tale could be told on me. I cook so whirlwind and am often trying out a new recipe while I’m making breakfast or lunch, and it all gets jumbled together.

Meatballs fly into pancakes; food burns and mini-appliances elbow each other. But, somehow, good food happens.

This summer garden spaghetti started with yellow and red tomatoes that Mr. Spinach Tiger planted. And, of course. basil.
I used the thickest spaghetti available, bucantini. You could use a macaroni or a thinner spaghetti, but thick spaghetti is fun to eat. It’s hearty. It takes a little bit of work to eat, and it’s not for everyone, but we love it.

Where’s the Sauce for this Summer Garden Spaghetti, you ask?

I used a garlic scape salsa. Big zesty, flavorful sauce and a no sauce “sauce.  Garlic Scapes are not always available, but chopped sautéed garlic would work as a fine replacement, as would a this pesto, which I also made with all herbs out of my garden. Heat garlic in oil,  Add in spaghetti and let it cook in the olive oil for the last minute of cooking. Add in a few tablespoons of the pasta water as needed. Voila!

Summer Garden Spaghetti is a way to enjoy your garden fare, comfort food with a lighter flair. Feel free to mix up the ingredients or roast the tomatoes, add olives, etc. Make it yours.

You Might also love this linguini with zucchini sauce. It’s one of my favorites. Get recipe here.

Zucchini Sauce with Basil & Garlic by Angela Roberts

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Garden Pasta
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4 from 1 vote

Summer Garden Spaghetti and Meatballs

How to make meatballs so good, you don't need sauce. Just toss with fresh veggies for a summer garden pasta.
Prep Time35 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6
Author: Angela Roberts


  • 1 pound pasta cooked al dente according to instructions
  • 3-4 meatballs per serving recipe below
  • garlic scapes salsa or 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • handful of basil leaves torn into small pieces
  • 4 fresh tomatoes chopped
  • 4-8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese

All Beef Meatballs

  • 1 cup pecorino
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs fresh made from stale bread
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 T garlic sauteed
  • salt and pepper


Garden Pasta with Meatballs

  • Cook pasta according to instructions. Toss with garlic scape salsa. Mix with tomatoes, basil, meatballs and mozzarella cheese.
  • Recipe for Meatballs (makes enough for two pounds of pasta; trim down as you prefer)


  • pounds ground sirloin
  • Chop parsley and basil.
  • Grate cheese.
  • Saute garlic.
  • Place ground beef in bowl.
  • Mix breadcrumbs with parsley, salt and pepper. Toss into bowl with meat. Add milk over breadcrumbs, mix with hands. Incorporate eggs, basil, cheese, garlic.
  • Form into small balls, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. I use a small scoop.
  • Bake for 20 minutes at 375, turning once at 10 minutes.


To make garlic scape salsa: Chop into small pieces and mix in food processor with olive oil and sea salt. Use enough oil to cover scapes by an inch and add more as needed. This can be strong, so use sparingly. If you don’t have access to this, saute 4 cloves of finely chopped garlic in olive oil and pour over pasta.

Please follow me on instagram. If you make this recipe,  please tag me #spinachtiger.

If you love this recipe, please give it five stars. It means a lot. xoxo

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