University of Birmingham graduate with a passion for food & cooking as part of a healthy lifestyle

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Saturday, 2 June 2012

Pasta and meatballs

A twist on the normal spaghetti bolognese! Although this takes a little longer than just browning mince, the dish is automatically transformed into something more special and exciting, so it is definitely worth it. I made half the meatballs with lamb mince and half the meatballs with beef mince (just what we had in the freezer) which made it even more interesting because there were two different flavours of meat - it was fun guessing which was which (clearly spend too much time with food...) It can be quite tricky cooking meatballs from scratch because they tend to crumble and fall apart when turning them in the frying pan. I found that the lamb meatballs didn't fall apart at all, and cooked perfectly, whereas the beef meatballs crumbled a bit (something to do with the type of meat? not sure what exactly though.) I love this meal, since I love cooking with fresh garlic and fresh herbs - the flavours in the meatballs and sauce were delicious. This meal will never fail to impress - people always think meatballs are more difficult to make than they really are (shh)!

Serves 2 (makes 12 meatballs)
- 250g mince (beef or lamb, or both)
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 small red onions, chopped
- few handfuls of fresh parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper
- olive oil or egg yolk, for binding
- olive oil, for frying
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- tin of chopped tomatoes, or passata
- fresh basil, torn
- fresh parmesan, grated
- 200g pasta
(Above is the passata we used. It's a huge jar so I used just over half - it's basically the same as tinned tomatoes but just crushed rather than larger pieces of tomato. I think this brand was from Costco)

1. In a bowl, combine the mince, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 chopped onion, chopped parsley, salt and pepper, and oil or egg. Shape into medium sized balls - it should make around 12.
2. Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan (I used 2 smaller frying pans) and fry the meatballs over a low-medium heat, turning occasionally to ensure they are cooked in the middle. They should be browned.
3. Set aside. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions (around 10 mins) in salted water. Meanwhile, fry the remaining onion and garlic in some olive oil. Once softened, add the peppers, cook for a few minutes, then add the passata or chopped tomatoes. Season to taste with fresh basil, salt and pepper, and some parmesan.
4. Return the meatballs to the sauce and heat through for a few minutes. Drain the pasta and serve topped with the meatballs and sauce. Garnish with some more basil leaves and some freshly grated parmesan!

Enjoy :)

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