spaghetti + meatballs | a family favourite

There’s something that little bit romantic about eating a big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs that you don’t get with spaghetti bol. It reminds me of Lady and the Tramp sitting at the red and white checkered table out the back of Tony’s Italian. Oh how I loved that movie growing up and thought the little restaurant scene was the best thing in the world.

I used to love spag bol too. I used to love spag bol before I had kids and cooked it one thousand trillion times. I’m a little sick of eating it myself, but my girls love it so much that I often make it and always have some frozen Bolognese mince in the freezer. I’m always amazed too at how everyones spaghetti bol tastes so different, even though the majority of the time – we’re all using very similar ingredients.

So if you’re looking for a different take on the traditional spaghetti Bolognese, why don’t you make spaghetti and meatballs instead? Granted, it’s a little bit more fiddly having to roll the meatballs, but it is a nice change. The meatballs can also be served with mash and veggies or rice if you prefer.

I made these meatballs for dinner this week and showed the youtube clip from the movie to my girls. Like their mum, they also thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. Two dogs listening to Italian music while devouring a big bowl of pasta. What could be better than that?

spaghetti + meatballs (this mixture makes 60 mini meat balls)

for the meatballs
500 grams of beef mince
1 x brown onion, very finely diced
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
1 x carrot, peeled and grated
2 x garlic cloves, crushed
1 x teaspoon of Dijon mustard
2 good shakes of the Worcestershire sauce bottle
1 x tablespoon of tomato sauce
A light sprinkling of dried oregano
A light sprinkling of dried parsley
1 x egg
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying the meatballs

for the tomato sauce
1 x 50 gram sachet of tomato paste
2 x 400 gram tins of diced tomatoes
2 x garlic cloves, crushed
6 x fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly cracked pepper

to serve
Dried spaghetti, cooked in boiling salted water
Olive oil, to drizzle over the top
Fresh basil leaves
Parmesan cheese, grated

  • Put the mince, onion, breadcrumbs, carrot, garlic, mustard, Worchestershire sauce, tomato sauce, oregano, parsley, egg and salt and pepper in to a large bowl and mix using your hands.
  • Roll the mixture in to small balls, using a teaspoon to make sure that you get the same amount of meat in each ball. They should be no larger than a teaspoon full and don’t, whatever you do, make them too big. They taste so much better the smaller they are as it means that the outside surface gets nice and golden brown from the frying process.
  • Place the balls on to a tray and either pop some glad wrap over the top and leave them in the fridge until you are ready to fry them, or otherwise, get a large non stick fry pan and heat a couple of glugs of vegetable oil in it.
  • Fry the meatballs in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Reserve the meatballs on a clean plate until all are cooked.
  • Meanwhile, in another frying pan, heat a splash of olive oil and add the garlic, letting it cook for a minute or two but being careful not to let it burn.
  • Add the tomato paste and tinned tomatoes (be careful here because they may spit a little being added to the hot oil) and bring to the boil. Fill one of the empty tomato tins up with water from the tap and add to the tomatoes.
  • Back the heat off to a slow simmer and add the fresh basil leaves, seasoning with salt and pepper. Let it simmer for 5 minutes before adding the cooked meat balls to the sauce to warm them through.
  • Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted, boiling water being careful not to overcook the pasta. No one likes gluggy spaghetti! (I usually use approximately 120 grams of spaghetti per adult).
  • Once the spaghetti is cooked and the meatballs in the sauce are heated through and looking good, you’re right to serve.
  • Dish up at the table, piling the meatballs on top of the spaghetti and topping with a generous amount of grated parmesan ‘AKA cheese snow’. Drizzle with a sprinkling of olive oil and finish it off by tearing some basil leaves over the top.

Lo’s tips

  • Make sure you chop the onions up really finely.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan when frying the meatballs and make sure that the heat is right. Too high a heat and the meatballs will burn on the outside but won’t cook through properly.
  • You can also add some hidden grated zucchini to the meatballs to up the veggie intake for the kiddies.
  • Once I drain the spaghetti, I return it back to the saucepan in which it was cooked and drizzle a little olive oil over the pasta, stirring it through. This helps to ensure that the strands of spaghetti don’t stick together.

If you make these spaghetti and meatballs please leave your comments below, or post your pic on Insta, tagging #los_kitchen. xx

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