Sometimes it’s the simpler things that are comforting, festive and wholesome all at once. For me, its spaghetti and meatballs every time. Its quite simple to make really and it requires nothing exotic. The trick is, to make it once and then because everyone will love it so much, you’ll be making it more than you know and sure enough, the ingredients will always be lying around! At least that is what’s happened here!
The recipe has come from no where in particular so I’m proud to share a Vanilla Bean original!
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Feeds 4 greedy people
Source: Vanilla Bean original!
500gms chicken mince
3 – 4 tbs parsley (Dry herbs only)
1 tbs garlic paste
1/2 medium onion, chopped very finely
4 tbs parmesan
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 bread slices, toasted and chopped finely to make breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper, to taste (I like to use white pepper but do not go all out to make a shopping expedition out of this, just replace it with black pepper)
1/4 tsp cumin powder
Olive oil, to shallow fry meatballs
- Wash the chicken mince thoroughly, draining out all the excess water. Again, squeeze the mince between your hands to ensure no water remains. Divide the mince into two bowls – about 100gms for the meat sauce and the rest for meat balls but don’t get the scale out or anything – just eyeball it.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine together the chicken mince, garlic paste, onions and egg. Mix together. The mixture will be wet.
- Add parsley, parmesan, salt, pepper, cumin powder and add the bread crumbs tablespoon by tablespoon till the mixture starts drying out. I did not end up using all the bread crumbs so after adding a few tablespoons, trying forming a ball between your fingers. If you’re able to make one easily, stop there.
- In a large non-stick pan, add oil and wait for it to heat up. I like to begin with shallow-frying one meatball. Once its done, I taste it to see if its well seasoned and if it is, I fry the rest otherwise, do the required adjustments and fry again. It’s also advisable to fry one first as if it starts coming apart, then you know you need more breadcrumbs. Also, do not add too many meatballs at once in the pan. I avoid stirring it around too much and let it completely cook on one side. Fry till they are about 70% done as we will simmer them in the meatsauce later. Drain excess oil on paper towels and set aside.
14 large, ripe tomatoes, pureed
200gms tomato puree (out of a can/tetra pack)
100gms chicken mince
1/2 onion, very finely chopped
1 tbs garlic paste (or finely chopped garlic)
2 tbs parsley
5 large tbs parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large bay leaf
3 – 4 tbs chilli flakes (adjust as per your comfort)
1/2 tsp cumin powder
2 – 3 tbs butter
Olive oil, just a dash
Sugar, just a pinch
- In a large stockpot, add a dash of olive oil and butter. After the butter has melted, add the bay leaf, garlic and onions. Stir till combined and wait for the onions to become translucent.
- Add 1/2 the can of tomato puree and stir to combine. Add the minced chicken and stir again.
- Add the freshly pureed tomatoes and stir well. Add very little water and let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Add the seasoning, parmesan and chilli flakes and stir to combine. Add the rest of the tomato puree and put a lid on the stockpot and let it simmer for about 7 to 10 minutes, monitoring closely. About half way through, add the meat balls and continue to simmer the sauce till the tomatoes are cooked. If you want, you could garnish the sauce with some freshly grated cheddar cheese (I just love the taste of cheddar in my spaghetti!).
Spaghetti and Serving Suggestions
- Cook spaghetti according to packet instructions. Drain in a colander and set aside.
- Before serving, refresh drained spaghetti under cold tap water. Drain well and empty out into a serving bowl.
- I like to serve the sauce and spaghetti in separate bowls. This way, one can decide between more sauce or more meatballs. Garnish with some parsley and parmesan! As a side note, I did miss some basil – definitely adding some basil next time.
|Makes enough for second helpings!|