Spaghetti and Meatballs

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Our family loves pasta, especially the kids. Whenever those carbohydrate loaded  shapes hit their plate (regardless of shape), it’s guaranteed a smooth and enjoyable meal for all – as long as I meet the requests of spaghetti being cut up or long! And to be sure, I always ask about 5 times, until I get the response “Mum, I said, I want it long”!!!

This recipe is inspired by Jamie Oliver’s meatball pasta. I have just added a few things and tweaked it slightly. If you are time poor, or have to work and need a quick meal to reheat for the family, this is a great one and like any pasta sauce, lasagna type meal, it is always better the next day. The last time we had this, I made the sauce on a Tuesday night to have for dinner on Wednesday, and it was SO much better than when I make and eat it on the same day.

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Basil in this recipe is a great addition, but if you don’t have it, it’s still pretty delicious without it. I normally use spaghetti, but if you have little kids and they prefer macaroni or other shaped pastas, they are just as easily substituted.

The meatballs themselves can be made in advance and refrigerated, prior to cooking, until needed.

Ingredients:

Serves 4

Meatballs

  • 400 lean beef mince
  • 1 tbs Dijon mustard
  • 2 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/3 cup multigrain breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs olive oil

Sauce

  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium sized eggplant, cut into 1-2 cm cubes
  • 1 long red chilli
  • 2 x 400g tins diced tomatoes
  • 1 big handful of basil leaves, roughly torn
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 300g spaghetti

Method:

  1. Place the diced eggplant into a colander and season generously with salt and set aside for ~15 minutes. This will allow the eggplant to sweat, which removes some of the bitterness.
  2. To make the meatballs, place all ingredients, except the oil into a medium sized bowl.
  3. Using your hands, mix the mixture thoroughly, until well combined. If the mixture is too wet, add some more breadcrumbs.
  4. Shape the meatballs by rolling heaped teaspoons of the mixture into balls and place onto a plate. Once all meatballs are made, drizzle with olive oil and shake to coat.
  5. Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook for 6-7 minutes, turning regularly to ensure they are cooked. Remove from frypan when cooked.
  6. Wipe the frypan clean and heat 1 tbs oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook for ~7-8 minutes or until translucent.
  7. Add garlic, chilli and eggplant and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
  8. Add tomatoes and 1 handful of chopped basil and bring to the boil.
  9. Turn heat down to a simmer and add meatballs. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until sauce is reduced slightly. Turn off the heat.
  10. To make the pasta, fill a large pot with water, add some salt and bring to the boil. Once boiling, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain.
  11. To serve, divide the pasta among four bowls, top with meatballs and grated parmesan cheese and some torn basil leaves.

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