Posts Tagged ‘passata


Spaghetti & Meatballs

I made this for the kids dinner tonight. It’s pretty quick and easy, and not too bad nutritionally, especially as the meatballs are grilled. The recipe should serve 6.

For the Meatballs-

700g lean beef mince
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
2 eggs
1 tbsp tomato puree (ketchup would do)
about 50g mature cheddar cheese, grated (monteray jack, or mexicana would be good alternatives)
1-2 tsp mixed herbs
1 red chilli, finely chopped, if liked

For the Sauce-

700g jar passata
1tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, depending on taste
1-2 tsp mixed herbs- fresh herbs would be delicious if you have a herb garden!
A splash of red wine
1 tbsp tomato puree
salt and black pepper to taste

1. To make the meatballs, throw all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well- you could use a spoon but I find clean hands the best option for this job!
2. Take a dessertspoon sized amount of the mix in your hands, kneading briefly before rolling between your palms to make a ball approx. 2 inches in diameter.
3. Place the meatballs on a hot preheated grill. Cook for approx 8-10 minutes, turning when the top becomes browned. If you need to, reserve the first ones off the grill on a plate whilst the rest cook!
4. To make the sauce, gently saute the onion and garlic in a large heavy based pan with the olive oil for around 5 mins, until softened and translucent.
5. Add all the other ingredients, and simmer gently for around 10 minutes. Because the passata is already thickened, you shouldn’t need to cook it for any longer than this.
6. Carefully add the meatballs to the sauce and gently stir in. You can simmer if you like for a few minutes.
7. Serve over spaghetti or other pasta of your choice. You can serve with freshly grated cheese, garlic bread, a nice salad and, most importantly, a big glass of red wine. 🙂

The meatball mixture will also make pretty nice burgers, if you prefer. Enjoy!



The Best Bolognese Sauce

This is my recipe for spaghetti bolognese. Yes, possibly the easiest recipe ever, something that no two people make the same way and open to massive dispute. Besides, apparently if you go to Italy and ask for spaghetti bolognese, they will just look confused because it doesn’t exist over there! 🙂

Serves 4-6

1 large onion, finely chopped

2-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or minced, to taste

1lb/500g lean beef mince

700g jar of passata (sieved tomatoes which are then thickened)

1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes

1 heaped tbsp tomato puree

Approx 200g mushrooms, sliced

1-2 tbsp olive oil

1 beef stock cube

herbs (either fresh or dried, marjoram, sage, rosemary, oregano, thyme- whatever you fancy!)

salt & pepper

1. Heat oil in a large pan. Add the minced beef, onion, garlic and herbs. Brown the mince until cooked, and the onions are translucent.

2. Add the passata, tomatoes, mushrooms, tomato puree and stock cube. Sometimes I add a little red wine too, if the mood takes me! Simmer very gently for at least 1.5 hrs, stirring occasionally. The longer you cook it, the better it will be. Tastes even better the next day!

3. Season to taste. Serve with lots of fresh spaghetti, garlic ciabatta, lashings of freshly grated cheese and a HUGE glass of red wine! Enjoy!

 Oh, and the passata really does make a massive difference to the final result. Sainsbury’s sell their 700g jar for only 64p, but if you don’t want to buy it you can easily make it yourself. I just can’t be bothered! 😀

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