Meatballs are always a favourite and these spicy pork meatballs are cooked in a chilli tomato sauce.
- Preparation time: about 30 minutes
- Standing time: 30 minutes
- Cooking time: 50–55 minutes
- 450 g 1 lb minced/ground pork
- 85 g 3 oz fresh white breadcrumbs (1¾ cups)
- 1 egg medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), beaten
- 1 lemon zest only
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 tbsp fresh sage chopped
- 2 pinches crushed dried chillies
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 x 400g tin or ½ × 796 ml can chopped/diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato purée/paste
- 1 tsp chicken bouillon or 1 × organic stock cube, mixed in 300ml (10 fl oz) (⅔ cup) boiling water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 200 g 7 oz spaghetti
- ½ a small Savoy cabbage finely shredded (or other green leafed vegetable finely shredded*).
- *Savoy cabbage in Canada can be very pale and so I prefer to use something like kale. The dark green colour works well with the spaghetti although it does sound an unusual combination.
- You will also need a large lidded frying pan/skillet.
In a large bowl mix together the pork, breadcrumbs, beaten egg, lemon zest, finely chopped onion, half the garlic and half the sage, a pinch of the crushed chillies, and plenty of seasoning. Once everything is well mixed in, shape into 30 meatballs. Then refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up.
Heat half the oil in the frying pan/skillet and add the meatballs. Brown over a medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally to brown all sides. This may need to be done in two batches. Remove and set aside.
Now add the remaining oil to the pan, reduce the heat, and add the chopped onions. Cook gently for 5 minutes until they have softened. Then add the remaining garlic and sage and cook for a further minute. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato purée/paste, stock, sugar, a pinch of crushed chillies, and season. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer for 5–10 minutes until the sauce has reduced a little.
Return the meatballs to the pan, then gently simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, turning them halfway through.
Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in plenty of salted, boiling water, adding the cabbage or other green vegetable for the last 4 minutes of cooking. Drain.
Serve the spaghetti alongside the meatballs and sauce.
Updated: May 8, 2018
This is a lasagne recipe that I stumbled across many years ago and that has always been a great family favourite. The dish has three layers of pasta, a meaty tomato sauce, and mozzarella cheese, topped with Parmesan.
- Preparation time: 30 minutes
- Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Standing time: 10 minutes
- 9 lasagne sheets
- 450 g 1 lb mince/ground beef
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- 2 x 400g tins or 1 x 796ml can Italian chopped/diced tomatoes
- 156 ml 5½ fl oz tin tomato paste (⅔ cup)
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- salt and freshly milled black pepper
- 450 g 1 lb mozzarella cheese, grated/shredded* (4 cups)
- 28 g 1 oz Parmesan cheese, finely grated/shredded (¼ cup)
- For this recipe you will need a deep sided frying pan/skillet or sauté pan.
- Also a 32.5 x 22.5 x 5 cm 13 x 9 x 2 inch ovenproof dish.
- *In the UK the prepackaged grated mozzarella cheese contains only cheese and anti-caking ingredients. In Canada it has more additives, so I buy the block mozzarella and grate it myself. Just pop it in the freezer for ten minutes before grating to firm it up.
- To serve
- A Caesar salad can be served as an accompaniment.
Brown the meat in the frying pan/skillet over a medium heat, about 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat, add the onion and garlic, and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, ⅔ cup water, and seasoning. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)
Many brands of lasagne pasta require no pre-cooking but I have found they benefit from cooking for a short time anyway. A baked lasagne using uncooked pasta isn’t as moist.
So bring a large pan of water to the boil and add a glug of olive oil. Drop 5 lasagne sheets into the water one at a time (crossing each one over the other) and boil for 4 minutes. (They need to be cooked in two batches or they will stick together while cooking.) Remove the sheets with a pair of tongs and lay them separately on a clean tea-towel. Repeat with the remaining four sheets.
To layer up the lasagne. First, spread a thin layer of the meat sauce in the bottom of the lasagne pan. Then layer 3 lasagne sheets, a third of the remaining meat sauce, and a third of the mozzarella cheese on top. Repeat layering the pasta, meat sauce, and cheese twice more. Finally sprinkle the Parmesan over the top.
Bake, covered with foil, in the oven for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Let it stand for 10 minutes before serving into portions.
Updated: May 3, 2018