Pasta Bows with Spiced Meatballs

This pasta dish is practical for a main course at a dinner party as you can make the meatball sauce in advance and all you need to do is reheat the sauce when you cook the pasta. For greatest ease you need only serve a green salad with the pasta, but broad beans or french beans also go well with it.


  • 375 g (12 oz) lean minced pork or veal
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dill seeds
  • 8-10 sage leaves, chopped finely
  • 4 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 25 g (1 oz) butter
  • 397 g (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • Small handful fresh basil or lovage leaves, sliced into thin strips
  • 375-425 g (12-14 oz) pasta bows
  • Salt and black pepper
  • grated Parmesan cheese to serve


Pound the minced meat in a bowl to make it as soft as possible. Add the ground coriander, dill seeds, chopped sage leaves, cayenne pepper, about half the crushed garlic and a sprinkling of salt. Mix together thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Then, using wet hands, form the mixture into very small balls.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large frying pan over a high heat. Add the meatballs and stir them about until browned all over. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining garlic, the chopped tomatoes and the tomato purée. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and let the sauce bubble gently for 4-5 minutes. Remove the frying pan from the heat.

Shortly before you are ready to eat, cook the pasta bows in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente, then drain and rinse under cold running water. Return to the rinsed-out pan, reheat gently, then tip into a warm serving dish.

Reheat the meatballs and sauce gently and add the sliced basil or lovage at the last moment. Spoon the sauce and meatballs on top of the pasta and serve at once with a bowl of grated Parmesan cheese.