Spaghetti & Meatballs

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Nothing fancy here. Big, authentic meatballs, a generous smothering of home-made tomato sauce, a little grated parmesan on top and some garlic bread. Good old-fashioned American–Italian food.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 250 g (9 oz) minced (ground) beef
  • 250 g (9 oz) minced (ground) pork
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 50 g ( oz) parmesan cheese, grated
  • 50 g ( oz) fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, finely chopped
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper

Tomato Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon each of finely chopped carrot and celery
  • 45 ml ( fl oz) olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 pinches dried oregano (or basil)
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) tomato passata (puréed tomatoes)
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) water

Garlic Bread

  • 1 baguette (not too thin)
  • 100 g ( oz) butter, softened
  • tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, finely chopped

Other Ingredients

  • 400 g (14 oz) spaghetti

Method

The Meatballs

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Mix all of the ingredients together until combined and form 10–12 large meatballs with your hands. Arrange them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 15 minutes.

The Tomato Sauce

Meanwhile, sauté the onion, carrot and celery in the olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Stir in the crushed garlic and cook for another minute before adding the oregano, tomato passata and water. Simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and a pinch of raw (demerara) sugar if you like. Add the meatballs and simmer for 15 minutes just before serving.

The Garlic Bread

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Split the baguette in half lengthways. Mix all the other ingredients into a paste. Spread this mixture on the cut sides of the bread and place the two halves on a baking tray with the buttered sides up. Bake for about 10 minutes until they’re slightly browned. Slice and serve with the dish.

Spaghetti

While you’re making the garlic bread, start cooking the spaghetti. Cook in boiling salted water until al dente, then drain and serve with the meatballs and tomato sauce. Offer garlic bread on the side.