An evening in – just me, the dog and Nigel (Slater on tv), a massive bowl of spaghetti with meatballs and a glass of red wine – bliss!
I’m really pleased with myself… I’ve perfected a tomato sauce recipe! Given the use of Worcester sauce, it’s probably not very authentically Italiano, but it is very good. The meatball part probably doesn’t chime with the whole healthy eating thing, but I do need to use up the Christmas leftovers in the freezer.
For the tomato sauce:
1 dessert spoon of butter
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 chilli, finely chopped
2 cans chopped tomatoes (although I have discovered Waitrose Cherry Tomatoes in a tin for a fuller flavour)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon tomato puree
2 teaspoons dark muscavado sugar
1 tablespoon Worcester sauce
1/2 Knorr Herbal Infusion stock pot (this is optional, although I think it provides a better depth of flavour to the sauce)
handful basil leaves
salt and pepper, to your taste
For the meatballs:
Sausagemeat (I used Waitrose Gourmet Pork Sausagemeat – it seems a bit as though I’m promoting Waitrose today – I’m not, it’s just where I happened to have shopped recently, any sausagemeat will do)
Handful fresh chives, finely chopped
Heat a pot, add the butter and gently fry the onions until softened; then add the garlic and chilli until these are softened as well. Then add the tins of tomatoes – I usually use the water to swill around the bottom of the tins, to ensure as much juice is extracted from the container as possible. Add the herbal stock cube if you are using it, add the basil, paprika, Worcester sauce, sugar and tomato puree. Bring to the boil and then gently simmer for 30 or so minutes, without the lid so that the sauce reduces down a little. If you are using the tinned cherry tomatoes, rather than the chopped tomatoes, you will need to pop the cherries (so to speak) after about 10 minutes so that they cook down.
Whilst the sauce is on the go, put the chives and sausage meat into a bowl and with your hands knead the meat to ensure the herbs are evenly distributed. Roll the mixture into meatball sized balls (1-1.5 inches in diameter) and place on a baking tray. Drizzle a little oil over the top and gently grill (165C) for around 20 minutes, remembering to roll them around every once in a while to ensure they are browned all over. When they are cooked through, add them to the sauce and continue to heat through.
This needs to be served with spaghetti, so when you’ve cooked some, muddle the sauce and meatballs in with the spaghetti and serve with loads of parmesan cheese.
Winter is drawing in and it’s making me want to hibernate and not venture outdoors unless I really really have to. Today I thought I’d try and see what I could get away with without leaving these 4 walls. The results were spaghetti with tinned mackerel and red pepper – a bit studenty and slightly lacking in depth of flavour, but otherwise simple healthy and filling (well the portion I made for myself was, at any rate!)
Spaghetti (I always choose Barilla Spaghetti No. 5 if I can help it)
Tinned mackerel I used this sort – I guess one tin person
Onion (quarter of an onion person)
Red pepper (quarter of the pepper per person)
Put the pasta to boil, in the meantime thinly slice and boil the onion and gently soften in a frying pan over a medium heat (I used the oil that the mackerel came in to fry the onion). When softened, add the red pepper and fry for 2-3 minutes then add the mackerel – give it a quick stir and let it heat a little and then remove from the heat and stir into the pasta when it’s finished cooking.