Thursday, February 15, 2007

Spaghetti with Spicy Meatballs

To please my man on Valentines Day I made this hearty dish of spaghetti & meatballs, what man doesn’t like this dish? The recipe came from Bill Granger’s Bills Food and was a big hit with Michael. I used the oven method of cooking the meatballs & they held together perfectly as well as using less oil & being less fiddly, ie no turning, standing over the pan watching them cook.

Spaghetti with Spicy Meatballs

80ml (1/3 cup) milk
1 slice of bread, crust removed
500g beef mince (or pork or veal)
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 egg, lightly beaten
25g freshly grated parmesan
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 fresh red chillies, finely chopped
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
60ml olive oil
2 x 400g cans chopped roma tomatoes
50g (1/2 cup) fresh basil leaves
500g spaghetti

To serve
A handful of fresh basil leaves
freshly grated parmesan cheese

Put the milk & bread in a small saucepan and place over a low heat. When the bread has absorbed the milk, remove from the heat & mash with a fork. Allow to cool.

Combine the meat, onion, parsley, thyme, egg, parmesan, garlic, half of the chilli, the bread mixture & lots of salt & pepper in a large bowl. Gently mix with your hands, then shape into small balls. I find wetting my hands makes this easier.

Heat the oil in large frying pan over a medium heat & when hot, add the meatballs. Brown the meatballs on all sides, turning carefully. Alternatively, you can toss the meatballs in oil in a roasting tin & bake them at 220c for 10-15 minutes. You may find this easier because the meatballs wont break up. Drain off any excess oil (if you’ve baked the meatballs transfer them to a frying pan) and add the tomatoes, remaining chilli, basil & salt & pepper. Stir the meatballs carefully to coat with the tomatoes, then simmer for 20 minutes.

While the meatballs are cooking, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil over a high heat. Add the spaghetti & cook according to packet instructions.
Serve meatballs over drained spaghetti with extra basil leaves & freshly grated parmesan

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