Lamb Meatballs in a Creamy Sauce

Lamb Meatballs in a Creamy Sauce

 

These tasty nutmeg seasoned meatballs are cooked in a creamy, wholegrain mustard sauce and served with tagliatelle.

 

Lamb Meatballs in a Creamy Sauce
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 50 minutes
  • Refrigeration time: 1 hour
  • Cooking time: 1 hour

  • Ingredients
  • 2 slices white bread
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 450g (1 lb) lamb mince/ground lamb
  • 2 eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), beaten
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 28g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick)
  • 600ml (20 fl oz) chicken stock (2½ cups)
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) crème frâiche (1¼ cups)
  • 2 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch


  • To serve
  • Serve with tagliatelle and a green salad

  • Equipment
  • casserole dish


  1. Method
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)

  3. Remove the crusts from the bread and cut into rough pieces. Place in a bowl and moisten with the milk. Mix with a fork to break up into crumbs.

  4. In a large mixing bowl, mix in the soaked breadcrumbs, onion, lamb, eggs, seasoning and nutmeg until throughly combined.

  5. Shape into 32 meatballs, using wet fingers. Just keep a small bowl of water nearby. (Fingers dipped in flour will just become sticky.) Chill the meatballs for 1 hour to firm up.

  6. Heat half the butter in a frying pan/skillet over a medium heat. When the butter is frothy and hot, add half the meatballs. Shake them in the pan to keep them moving and cook until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Remove, using a slotted spoon, and transfer them to the casserole dish. Repeat with the remaining meatballs, adding extra butter if needed.

  7. Add the stock to the pan and scrape off any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Bring to the boil, then stir in the mustard. Pour over the meatballs, cover the dish and cook above the centre of the oven for 45 minutes.

  8. Mix the crème frâiche and cornflour/cornstarch together in a bowl, then stir into the casserole until well blended. Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes, uncovered, until bubbling. The sauce will become thick.

  9. Serve over tagliatelle.

Updated: November 14, 2017

Tuna and Egg Pasta

Tuna and Egg Pasta

 

Looking for a quick and easy supper from cupboard staples? Then here’s a tasty Tuna and Egg Pasta dish. Penne and a couple of cans of tuna are folded into a cheese sauce and topped with egg and crunchy buttered  breadcrumbs.

 

Tuna and Egg Pasta
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: about 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes (oven)

  • Ingredients
  • 170g (6 oz) penne (2¼ cups)
  • ½ onion, finely sliced
  • 85g (3 oz) butter (⅜ cup, or ¾ stick)
  • 55g (2 oz) flour (⅓ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 500ml (20 fl oz) milk (2½ cups)
  • 2 x 160g tins (170g cans) chunk light tuna in oil, drained
  • 3 eggs, hard boiled
  • salt and pepper
  • 115g (4 oz) mature/old Cheddar cheese, grated (1 cup)
  • 55g (2 oz) breadcrumbs (1 cup)

  • Equipment
  • 1.14 litre (2 pint) (6 cup capacity) ovenproof dish


  1. Method
  2. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)

  3. Cook penne and onion together in a pan of boiling salted water for as long as directed on the packet of pasta. Drain and set aside.

  4. Melt 55g (2 oz) (¼ cup, or ½ stick) of the butter in a pan, stir in the flour until smooth and cook over a low heat for 1 minute.

  5. While leaving the roux to cook, warm the milk. (The easiest way is to microwave on high power for one minute.) Then gradually blend into the roux, stirring constantly, until the sauce is smooth. Bring to the boil, stirring, until thickened.

  6. Next add the cheese and seasoning, and stir until the cheese has melted.

  7. Stir through the penne and onion, then gently mix in the tuna, breaking up any large clumps. Spoon into the ovenproof dish.

  8. Next, shell the eggs and cut into quarters. Arrange over the top of the pasta and gently press down.

  9. Finally, melt the remaining butter in a pan and fry the breadcrumbs until crisp. Scatter over the pasta.

  10. Bake in the oven for 20–30 minutes until bubbling around the edges and browning on the top.

  11. Serve with a green salad.

Updated: October 29, 2017

Beef and Bacon Bolognese

Beef and Bacon Bolognese

 

This bolognese is loaded with wholesome ingredients. The beef and bacon are cooked in a sauce of tomatoes, chopped onions, diced carrots and celery, garlic, herbs and red wine.

 

Beef and Bacon Bolognese
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30–35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 55 minutes hob

  • Ingredients
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 celery stick, diced
  • 115g (4 oz) smoked bacon rashers, chopped (about 4 rashers)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes (½ x 28 fl oz can diced tomatoes)
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) beef stock (⅔ cup)
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) red wine (⅔ cup)
  • 4 tbsp tomato purée/tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp mixed herbs (basil, marjoram and oregano)
  • salt and pepper
  • 340g (12 oz) lean mince beef/ground beef
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded and chopped
  • 115g (4 oz) mushrooms, rinsed and sliced (6 button mushrooms)

  • To serve
  • serve with fettuccine

  • Equipment
  • Large frying pan/skillet
  • A deep sided frying pan or sauté pan


  1. Method
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan/skillet over a medium heat. When hot, add the onion, carrot, celery, bacon and garlic Stir to coat in the oil and then cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. Stir in the tomatoes, stock, wine, tomato purée/tomato paste, bay leaf, herbs and seasoning. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

  4. Heat the remaining oil in a deep frying pan or sauté pan, over a medium heat and, when hot, add the beef with the pepper. Fry for about 5 minutes to brown the meat.

  5. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 3 minutes.

  6. Stir in the sauce, bring everything to the boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

  7. Serve with fettuccini.

Updated March 29, 2017

Spaghetti Bolognese with Cherry Tomatoes

Spaghetti Bolognese with Cherry Tomatoes

 

This spaghetti bolognese uses cherry tomatoes instead of chopped or diced tomatoes. The Italian tomatoes add a burst of sweetness to the sauce which makes it just a little bit different.

 

Spaghetti Bolognese with Cherry Tomatoes
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 400g/14 oz minced beef/ground beef
  • 110g/4 oz streaky bacon/side bacon (about 4 rashers)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 110ml/4 fl oz red wine
  • 225ml/8 fl oz hot beef stock
  • 2 x 400g tins cherry tomatoes*
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a little grated nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp curly parsley, chopped

  • *In Canada, cans of cherry tomatoes imported from Italy can be found in the regular canned tomato aisle of supermarkets

  • To serve
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • spaghetti


  1. Method
  2. Heat half a tablespoon of the oil in a large pan over a medium to high heat and brown the beef. Do this in two batches or the beef will steam rather than fry. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

  3. Cut the bacon rashers into cubes and add to the pan to brown, then remove and set aside with the beef.

  4. Reduce the heat to low and add the remaining oil to the pan. Stir in the onion, celery and carrot and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tomato purée and cook for 1 minute.

  5. Return the meat to the pan. Pour in the red wine and let it bubble until it has reduced by half. Stir in the beef stock, half the oregano, nutmeg and bay leaf and add the tomatoes.

  6. Bring to the boil, cover, reduce the heat to very low and simmer very gently for 45 minutes.

  7. Stir in the remaining oregano and most of the parsley, reserving some to scatter over when serving.

  8. Serve the spaghetti sauce over the pasta and scatter with the reserved parsley and Parmesan cheese.

 

Macaroni Cheese with Bacon

Macaroni Cheese with Bacon

 

This macaroni cheese is ideal for a filling snack or for a supper served with a salad. The bacon really adds some additional flavour to the sauce and it has a crunchy, cheesy breadcrumb topping.

 

Macaroni Cheese with Bacon
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 225g/8 oz macaroni
  • 110g/4 oz cheddar cheese, grated
  • 850ml/1½ pints milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 70g/2½ oz butter
  • 70g/2½ oz flour
  • 6 slices smoked streaky bacon/side bacon
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 handfuls fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 4 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
  • pepper

  • Equipment
  • A 2 litre/3½ pint ovenproof dish


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

  3. Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling salted water for 1 minute less than recommended on the packet of the brand you are using. Drain and set aside.

  4. Meanwhile, pour the milk into a pan and add the bay leaves. Bring to the boil, then immediately remove from the heat.

  5. In a separate pan, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir until there is a smooth paste (a roux).

  6. Remove the bay leaves from the milk, then gradually add the milk to the roux, stirring constantly, until blended and smooth. Simmer to thicken to a double/whipping cream consistency. Remove from the heat.

  7. Grill the bacon until just crispy. Let it cool a little then cut into small pieces.

  8. Stir the pasta, bacon, cheddar and mustard into the sauce and add the pepper.

  9. Spoon into the ovenproof dish. No need to smooth the top.

  10. Toss the breadcrumbs and Parmesan together. Scatter over the top, completely covering the macaroni cheese mixture. Bake for 40 minutes until the top starts to brown.

 

Angie’s Lasagna

Angie's Lasagna

 

This is a lasagna 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.

 

Angie's Lasagna
Prepares: 8 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Standing time: 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 9 lasagne sheets (De Cecco, is my favourite brand)
  • 450g/1 lb mince beef/ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 × 400g cans/1 × 28 fl oz can chopped/diced tomatoes
  • 156ml/5½ fl oz can tomato paste
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 450g/1 lb mozzarella cheese, grated*
  • 25g/1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated

  • * In the U.K. the prepackaged grated mozzarella cheese contains only cheese and anti-caking ingredients. In Canada it has a lot 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.

  • Equipment
  • Deep sided frying pan/skillet or sauté pan
  • A 4 litre (32.5 x 22.5 x 5 cm/13 x 9 x 2 inch) ovenproof dish


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

  3. Over a medium heat, brown the meat in the pan, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes.

  4. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano and season. Fill the tomato paste can with water and stir into the mixture. Simmer for 20 minutes.

  5. 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. De Cecco needs to be pre-cooked.

  6. So bring a large pan of water to the boil and add a glug of olive oil. Drop 5 of the lasagne sheets into the water one at a time (they need to be cooked in two batches or they will stick together while cooking) and boil for 4 minutes. Remove the sheets with a pair of tongs and rinse under a cold tap. Lay the individual sheets on a clean tea-towel. Repeat with the remaining four sheets.

  7. Spread a thin layer of the meat sauce in the bottom of the lasagne pan. Layer 3 lasagne noodles, a third of the remaining meat sauce and a third of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat twice more. Sprinkle the top with the Parmesan cheese.

  8. Bake, covered with foil, in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes. Then let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

 

Spicy Pork Meatballs

Spicy Pork Meatballs

 

Meatballs are always a favourite and these spicy pork meatballs are cooked in a chilli tomato sauce.

 

Spicy Pork Meatballs
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: About 1 hour
  • Standing time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • Equipment
  • A large lidded sauté pan

  • Ingredients
  • 450g/1 lb minced pork/ground pork
  • 75g/3 oz fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 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
  • ½ tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 × 400g/½ × 28 fl oz can whole tomatoes
  • 1 organic stock cube/1 tsp chicken bouillon mixed in 300ml/10 fl oz hot water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper

  • To serve
  • 200g/7 oz spaghetti (my favourite is the De Cecco range)
  • Half a small Savoy cabbage 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.)


  1. Method
  2. 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 has been well combined, shape into 30 meatballs. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up.

  3. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and add the meatballs in batches to brown. Remove.

  4. Add a little more oil to the pan and add the chopped onion and cook gently for 5 minutes until softened. Add the remaining garlic and sage, and cook for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, stock, sugar, a pinch of crushed chillies, and season. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer for 10 minutes to reduce the sauce a little. Return the meatballs to the pan and simmer, covered for 30 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in plenty of salted boiling water with a splash of olive oil, adding the cabbage or other green vegetable for the last 4 minutes of cooking. Drain.

  6. Serve the spaghetti alongside the meatballs and sauce.

 

Pasta al Forno Siciliana

Pasta al forno Siciliana Pasta al forno Siciliana

 

Layers of ragù, rigatoni, ham, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses make pasta al forno Siciliana a truly flavourful Italian dish.

 

Pasta al Forno Siciliana
Prepares: 8 servings
 
  • Preparation time: About 45 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour on hob, 25 minutes in oven

  • Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 900g/2 lb minced beef/ground beef
  • 1½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 250ml/9 fl oz red wine
  • 500ml/17 fl oz passata
  • 225g/8 oz frozen peas
  • 450g/1 lb rigatoni pasta
  • 170g/6 oz sliced ham, cut into strips
  • 225g/8 oz mozzarella cheese, chopped
  • 4 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra to serve

  • To serve
  • A green salad or caesar salad

  • Equipment
  • A deep ovenproof dish measuring 22 × 30.5cm/8½ × 12 in, and 6.5cm/2½ in deep


  1. Method
  2. Heat oil in a large pan and cook the onion over a low heat until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

  3. Turn up the heat to moderate and add the meat. Brown, stirring often to break up any lumps, about 5 minutes.

  4. Stir in the oregano, thyme, bay leaf, wine and plenty of seasoning. When the wine has been absorbed, stir in the passata and 250ml/9fl oz water. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. At the end of cooking time the consistency should be that of a loose ragù. Add a little water if it is getting too thick.

  5. Add peas and remove from the heat.

  6. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pan of salted boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes less than the cooking time recommended on the packet. Drain.

  7. Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan assisted/375°F/gas mark 5.

  8. Put a shallow layer of the ragù in the ovenproof dish. Add half the pasta then spoon over half the remaining ragù. Top with all the ham. Scatter over half the mozzarella plus 2 tbsp of the Parmesan. Add the rest of the pasta then spoon over the rest of the ragù. Scatter over the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.

  9. Cook in the oven for 20–30 minutes until piping hot and golden.

  10. Serve with extra Parmesan sprinkled on the top and a salad.

 

Greek Pasta Bake

Greek Pasta Bake

 

A tasty baked dish of lamb, pasta and tomatoes covered in a white sauce and topped with grated cheese.

 

Greek Pasta Bake
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: About 40 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 450g/1 lb lamb mince/ground lamb
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 × 400g/½ × 28 fl oz can chopped tomatoes/diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 140ml/5 fl oz beef stock
  • 10g/½ oz butter
  • 10g/½ oz plain flour/all purpose flour
  • 300ml/10 fl oz milk
  • 1 egg, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), beaten
  • 225g/8 oz macaroni
  • 50g/2 oz Cheddar cheese, grated

  • Equipment
  • A 2 litre/3 pint ovenproof dish.

  • To serve
  • Accompany with a green salad


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°F)/350°F/gas mark 4.

  3. Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onion and garlic over a medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until softened. Add the lamb and stir-fry over a high heat for 3–4 minutes until browned all over. Lower the heat and stir in the tomato purée and cook for 1–2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, bay leaves and stock, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 35–40 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, make the white sauce. Melt the butter in a small pan, then stir in the flour to make a smooth paste. Cook over a low heat for 1–2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Gradually whisk in the milk, stirring continuously until smooth. Then cook for 4–5 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Beat in the egg. Set the sauce to one side.

  5. Cook the macaroni in boiling salted water according to the packet instructions. Drain well and spoon half into the dish. Spoon the meat sauce over, then top with the remaining macaroni. Pour the white sauce evenly over the top and scatter with cheese. Cook in the oven for 25–30 minutes.

  6. Tip
  7. A foolproof way to make a smooth white sauce:

  8. Once the butter has melted, tilt the pan so all the melted butter rests in one corner. Tip the flour onto the pool of butter. It will then be easier to stir to a smooth paste. Also preheat the milk in a microwave, on high, for 1 minute, then gradually whisk it into the roux. Adding warm milk gradually makes a smooth sauce without any lumps.