There is nothing more satisfying than cooking a meal that the whole family enjoys. This meatball recipe is one of those, it is tasty, wholesome and just plain good. I like to make a big batch and divide it up in portions for the children and then with what’s left (usually half) I add 1/4 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes for a spicy kick for us grown ups.
One of my favourite pastas is bucatini, if you have never come across it, it is best described as long thin tubes of pasta. Bucatini is also ideal for toddlers and young children to eat as it can be cut up easily into bite size pieces.
The meatballs can be made ahead and kept in the fridge covered in clingfilm until needed later in the day.
Ingredients (Serves 4 adults)
500g lean mince beef
2 slices of wholemeal bread
1 tablespoon mixed herbs
1 large egg (beaten)
1 teaspoon of fine sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 x 400g chopped tinned tomatoes
1 small onion (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (optional or amount according to taste)
400g bucatini pasta
Parmesan cheese (finely grated)
1. In a mini chopper or food processor whizz the bread until you get breadcrumbs.
2. In a large bowl mix together the mince beef, breadcrumbs, mixed herbs, salt, egg and a good grinding of black pepper. I tend to use my hands as it is easier to combine all the ingredients.
3. Once thoroughly combined take small chunks of the mixture and roll with your hands to get small meatballs about 3cm in diameter. No need to be exact here but try to get them roughly the same size so they cook at the same time. You should get anything between 34 and 38 meatballs. Then set aside until needed.
4. To make the tomato sauce first heat the olive oil in a large heavy casserole pan and sauté the onions until soft.
5. Add the tinned tomatoes, dried oregano and a grinding of black pepper. Add the dried chilli flakes at this stage if you wish. I tend to add only 1/4 teaspoon of chilli flakes to half the tomato sauce, so the other half is chilli free and child friendly.
6. Bring to the boil and simmer until you have a lovely thick tomato sauce. Keep on a low heat stirring every now and again. Cook for approximately 30 minutes.
7. Meanwhile to cook the meatballs heat the olive oil in a large frying pan.
8. Pan fry the meatballs in three batches, by browning all sides until the meatballs are cooked through. When the first batch of meatballs are cooked add to the tomato sauce and then fry the second batch of meatballs. Continue until all the meatballs have been cooked and are in the tomato sauce.
9. Cook the bucatini pasta in a saucepan of salted boiling water until al dente and scoop out a cup of the starchy pasta water and set aside.
10. Drain the pasta and add to the meatballs in tomato sauce. Add a little of the starchy water to help emulsify the sauce. Stir through well whilst still on the heat for about 30 seconds.
12. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese on top.
I hope you enjoy the meatballs with bucatini, they really are a winning combination. Like always I love to hear what you think, please leave your comments in the box below.