Sorry for the crappy pictures on this post – I was trying to covertly take photos without my in-laws noticing! I decided to make spaghetti and meatballs well before we knew they were coming for dinner, but I figured its an easy, hard to stuff up kind of meal – the kind you want to serve to your in-laws so they dont think you are starving their poor boy each night through your bad cooking!
But truth be told, I have never made meatballs before and lately when I make burgers of any kind, theyve been falling apart. So I had hoped that this wasnt the case with this recipe and I didnt have to turn it into bolognese last minute!
Thankfully, success! my meatballs held together and the sauce in this recipe is really delicious – the large amount of basil really gives it a kick and the balsamic vinegar used also adds a touch of sweetness.
The in-laws approved, it was so filling Ben couldnt finish his bowl (although he may have spent too much time chowing down on the Christmas lollies I put out that night…) and most importantly – was whipped up really quickly!
Meatballs and pasta
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
12 crackers (or half cup breadcrumbs)
2 heaped teaspoons Dijon mustard
500g minced beef or pork or a mixture of the two
1 heaped teaspoon dried oregano
1 large egg
sea salt and black pepper
a bunch of fresh basil
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
½ a fresh or dried red chilli
800g chopped tomatoes (tinned)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
400g dried spaghetti
parmesan cheese, for grating
To make your meatballs
- Pick the rosemary off the woody stalks and finely chop
- Smash the crackers until fine or substitute with breadcrumbs
- Add to the bowl with mustard, mince, chopped rosemary and oregano.
- Crack in the egg and add a good pinch of salt and pepper.
- With wet hands, roll into little meatballs.
- Drizzle them with olive oil and jiggle about so they all get coated.
- Put on a plate and refrigerate until needed.
To cook your pasta, meatballs and sauce
- Pick the basil leaves
- Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic
- Finely slice the chilli
- Put a large pan of salted water on to boil, Cook pasta according to instructions
- Next, heat a large pan on a medium heat with 2 lugs of olive oil
- Add your onion and stir for around 7 minutes or until softened and golden
- Then add your garlic and chilli, and when they start to get some colour, add the basil leaves.
- Add the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar
- Bring to the boil and season with salt and pepper
- Meanwhile, in another frypan add a lug of olive oil and your meatballs
- Stir them and cook for around 8 – 10 minutes until golden
- Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer until the pasta is ready
To serve your meatballs
- Save some of the cooking water, drain pasta in a colander
- Return pasta to pan
- Spoon half the tomato sauce into your pasta, adding a splash of reserved water
- Serve pasta with meatballs and remaining sauce on top
- Sprinkle with basil leaves and grated parmesan