Meatballs and Pasta

I’ve really enjoyed not having too much rushing around to do today. It’s been great as I haven’t fancied going out in the bitter cold. I’d rather stay at home. This morning I went to have my hair cut and as there is a lot of grey, it was a big job getting it coloured! I was back home by lunchtime and had to crack on with washing, tidying up and cleaning. I did have time later to get my cross stitch out for an hour with the fire lit before starting on the dinner, though.

I planned on meatballs and spaghetti for dinner tonight. We love meatballs in our house and I make them a lot. It tends to be a weekend dish or one I cook on a day I’m not working, though. I don’t like frying my meatballs and I oven bake them on baking parchment, transferring them across to a frying pan with the sauce in for the last five minutes or so.

First things first! My Saturday night treat. A glass of gin and tonic. We had a Tanqueray gin miniature left over from Christmas as well as a Fevertree Aromatic Tonic Water can. Always great to have a little sip on a gin and tonic as you are cooking the dinner.

I mixed a chopped onion, a few breadcrumbs, some of my homemade Spaghetti Spice, salt and pepper together with 450g minced beef. The Spaghetti Spice is a special Italian herb and spice blend from a recipe by Nigella Lawson in her Nigellisima book. It consists of dried chillies, sea salt, parsley and garlic granules. A little goes a long way and as I realised later, I was a bit heavy handed with the spice! I make up jars of it for Christmas presents and keep back a couple for myself. They go down very well with family and friends.

When the ingredients were blended in with the mince, I then rolled the meat into sixteen equal balls. They were put on a baking tray covered in baking parchment.

Meanwhile, I started on the sauce. First, I fried a chopped onion along with a diced carrot in a spoonful of olive oil. I was meant to add celery to the pan but no one likes it in our house so I left it out. When the vegetables were softened, I added a carton of passata, a tin of chopped tomatoes, a teaspoonful of Spaghetti Spice and some ground salt and pepper. They simmered away for about 20 minutes.

I then cooked some spaghetti to go with the meatballs. By this time I was trying to keep everything warm as I was waiting for my husband and son to come home. I left the meatballs in the pan and tried to keep the pasta warm for about 15 minutes. Luckily it didn’t affect it, although I think the meatballs were a bit overdone.

Thankfully, they were well worth the wait. I really enjoyed them, although I will never learn about the quantity of Spaghetti Spice! Half a spoonful next time, Sam! I accidentally dropped a left over meatball on the floor when I was clearing up and my greedy Labrador had it as an extra snack! He clearly wasn’t bothered by the spice!

Enjoy your weekend!

Love Sam xx

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