Saturday, 23 July 2011

Tasty spaghetti and meatballs

I've devised a tasty and easy basil and tomato sauce into which I plop fried meatballs.  I confess that  I "cheat" by using ready-made beef meatballs from Sainsburys or ready-made Swedish meatballs, which are a mixture of beef and pork and slightly smaller.  I used to make my own meatballs they take ages and taste-wise wasn't hugely different.  It also meant that it became a weekend recipe because it would take too long to do after a day at work.

This recipe makes four large or six medium servings:

3 tbsp olive oil
1 very large or two medium onions
2 cloves of garlic
Half a teaspoon of chilli flakes or one large fresh red chilli
1 bottle of pasatta
2 [400g] cans of chopped tomatoes
1 large bunch of fresh basil leaves
3 tbsp sugar
salt and freshly ground pepper
24 [2 packs of 12] meatballs
2 tsp cornflour mixed with 3 tbsp water
Freshly grated parmesan cheese to sprinkle on just before eating

  • In a shallow non-stick frying pan slicked with a little oil brown the meatballs in batches - I have a large frying pan so do them in 2 batches.  Transfer on to kitchen roll to absorb any excess oil
  • Heat the olive oil to medium heat in a large, heavy based pot
  • Finely chop the onions
  • Finely crush or chop the garlic
  • Add to the onions and garlic to the oil
  • Bring them to sizzling point, stirring all the time and then turn down the heat to low
  • Allow the onions and garlic to gently sweat for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and making sure they don't brown whatsoever
  • Add the chilli and cook for another few minutes
  • Add the two tins of tomatoes and stir
  • Add the bottle of passata and stir
  • Bring to a bubbling boil, stirring all the time
  • Add the sugar and season well with salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Pluck the basil leaves off the plant or stem and roll between your fingers to release the oils and then tear into small pieces and add to the sauce
  • Add the meatballs a simmer for 15 -20 mins - infusing the sauce with a lovely meaty flavour
  • 5 minutes before serving dissolve the cornflour in the water in a small glass or mug and stir into the sauce.  This ensures a lovely silky consistency and prevents watery tomato juice accumulating under the pasta
Serve sauce and meatballs on spaghetti or pasta of your choice.  Garnish with basil leaves and sprinke with freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste.

Tastes even better the next day.
Freezes well for up to 3 months.

Photo courtesy of Flickr CCL - The Culinary Geek

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