Sunday, 20 April 2008

Pasta with Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

This pasta dish of meatballs in tomato sauce has to be one of our all time favourites which I have been making for years. It is a Nigella Lawson recipe and features in the Nigella Bites Cookbook. The rolling of the meatball is quite time-consuming but I find it quite therapeutic and I can’t help but feel like an Italian mama in the kitchen. If you are a pasta lover this is definitely a must try, the combined flavours of the meatballs cooked in the passata sauce leaves the tongue craving more, even when the belly is screaming “please, no more”! This is one pasta dish that the “Godfather” himself could not refuse.

Pasta with Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

For the meatballs
250g pork, minced
250g beef, minced
1 egg
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp Oregano
3 tbsp semolina, or breadcrumbs
1 pinch Pepper
1 tsp Salt

For the tomato sauce
1 onion
2 garlic clove
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Olive oil, (not extra-virgin)
700g tomato passata (sieved tomatoes)
1 pinch Sugar
1 pinch salt and pepper
100ml full cream milk

To make the meatballs, just put everything in a large bowl, and then, using your hands, mix to combine, before shaping into small balls. Place the meatballs on baking sheets or plates that you have lined with clingfilm, and put in the fridge as you finish them.

To make the tomato sauce, put the onion, garlic and oregano into the process and blitz to a pulp. Heat the butter and oil in a deep wide pan, then scrape the onion-garlic mix into it and cook over a low-medium for about 10 minutes. Don’t let the mixture catch, just let it become soft. Add the bottle of passata and then fill the empty bottle half full with cold water. Add this to the pan with the pinch of sugar, some salt and pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes. The tomato sauce will appear thin at this stage, but don’t worry as it will thicken a little later. Stir in the milk, and then drop the meatballs in one by one. Don’t stir the pan until the meatballs have turned from pink to brown as you don’t want to break them up. Cook everything for about 20 minutes, with the lid only partially covering it. At the end of cooking time, check the seasoning as you may want more salt and a grind or two more of pepper. Serve with pasta of your choice and a sprinkle of parmesan.


Abitofafoodie said...

I can just imagine myself devouring a plateful of those meatballs. Yum!

Anna's kitchen table said...


Emily said...

Mama Mia! That's some spicy looking meatballs.

Looks tasy.

Anonymous said...

I just love those meatballs too. I love using them to make lasagna too, especially with home made pasta :)

Rosie said...

Just love this dish Maria - bravo!! Now I'm coming over with my fork expect that knock at the door any minute *giggle*

Rosie x

Maria♥ said...

Thanks everyone for the lovely comments.

George what a great idea to use them when making lasagne, will have to try this next time. Thanks!


Maggie said...

When my two offspring lived at home they loved this recipe. I'm not surprised that you loved it too!

Maria♥ said...

Thanks Margaret!


Ruth Strong said...

I just don't make meatballs enough, just always think it takes too long, but the work is so worth it cos they're delicious! Yours look really tasty in that creamy sauce!

Maria♥ said...

Thanks Ruth and these are definitely worth that extra time, as the end result is pure comfort food!


Nickki said...

this is one of my all time favourite recipes, I tend to make it when it's very cold and wet outside. It's so comforting! And it's something I know my boys are going to eat all up! Looks delicious Maria x

Maria♥ said...

Thanks Nikki ;o)