There are some dishes that I hesitate in posting, as I feel that they’re probably not exciting enough for my fellow bloggers and readers who I know cook to such a high level and have their own tried and tested recipes. However, part of the reason for creating this blog is to provide a go-to guide and resource for my two young boys, so that eventually when they leave the nest 😢 (or even before then perhaps… when they feel inspired to cook up something for dinner for their parents! Yes, I did stress that word ‘perhaps’!)… some of their favourites will be there to find easily.
This is a dish that I cook reasonably regularly and it’s most definitely one that puts a smile on everyone’s faces! It comes from a well-used cookbook called ‘Apples for Jam’ by Tessa Kiros. The only changes I’ve made are slightly increasing the quantity of meat and upping the amount of spices. Though feel free to make your own decisions as to how fragrant you like your meatballs!
Spaghetti and Meatballs | Gather and Graze
For the Meatballs:
- 50g (Day Old) Crustless White Bread (broken into small pieces)
- 4 Tablespoons Milk
- 250g Beef Mince
- 250g Pork Mince
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 2 Tablespoons Flat-Leaf Parsley (Finely Chopped)
- ½ Small Red Onion or French Shallot (Coursely Grated)
(Plus 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil for frying the meatballs)
For the Sauce:
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Cloves Garlic (Peeled and Smashed a bit)
- 400g Tin Chopped Tomatoes
- A few Basil Leaves (Torn)
- Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 250ml/1 Cup Boiling Water
- 300g Pasta (Spaghetti or Linguine…)
- Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
Begin by making the meatballs… In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread and milk and use fingers to mush it together into something of a paste. Add all other ingredients and once again use hands to mix together until fully combined. Roll into small balls and set aside on a plate until the sauce has been started and you are ready to fry them up.
* Tip: I prefer to place my uncooked meatballs in the fridge for at least half an hour, as they seem to hold their shape a little better when frying.
To make the sauce, place the olive oil and smashed garlic into a medium-sized pot and place over low/medium heat. Heat until the garlic is gently frying and aromatic. Add the tinned tomatoes and basil, along with a grinding of pepper and a pinch of salt. Allow to simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes.
At this point, start frying the meatballs in the extra oil in a large frying pan. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry until golden brown all over.
Now add 250mls (1 Cup) of boiling water to the pot with the sauce and stir combine. Add the cooked meatballs into the sauce and continue to cook on a gentle simmer (uncovered) for another 20-25 minutes, until the sauce has thickened beautifully. Be sure to check for seasoning and adjust if need be.
Have your pasta water boiling and ready to go. Cook the pasta until ‘al dente’, then place into a serving bowl. I like to coat the pasta with a small splash of olive oil (so that the strands don’t all stick together), before piling on top the meatballs and sauce.
Serve with some freshly grated parmesan on the side, a crisp green salad and some crusty bread for mopping up the sauce.
Dinner was happily eaten outside on this particular evening. A glass of red… or white (as is my preference going into the warmer months) complements this dish rather well too!
* Recipe from ‘Apples for Jam’ by Tessa Kiros