As winter starts to bite, it’s all to easy to forget just how comforting and warming a bowl of fresh pasta can be. This American Italian classic is loved by children and adults alike and will really hit the spot on cold evenings. Quick and easy to prepare, it really is worth making your own meatballs, which can be done well in advance. Shop bought meatballs tend to be designed for more robust dishes, when what you’re really after here are small delicate bites. Using a blend of pork and beef also gives an extra dimension of flavour, with the pork fat adding a delicious creaminess alongside the cheese.
Italian Meatballs with Tagliatelle and Tomato and Basil Sauce
- 3 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
- 50 ml whole milk
- 300 g minced beef
- 300 g minced pork
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 50 g parmesan grated
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 shallots peeled and finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes 400g
- 1 cartoon passata 400g
- 1 chicken stock pot
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 500 g fresh tagliatelle
- 150 g parmesan grated
- 1 small bunch basil chopped into ribbons
- Soak the breadcrumbs in the milk for about 10 minutes. Mix together the meats, garlic, oregano, parmesan and breadcrumbs, until it's well blended, and season well. It's always best to fry a very small amount off to taste and ensure the seasoning is to your taste. Then break off into walnut sized pieces, roll into a ball, and then roll in the flour. Set aside and chill for at least an hour.
- Fry the shallots in the olive oil over a low heat in a saucepan, until translucent and tender. Add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes. Season well, and then add the chopped tomatoes and passata. Add in the stock pot, swill out the tin and cartoon with water and add to the sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook out for 10-15 minutes, until it starts to look thicker. Taste, season again, and if needed add a tsp of sugar.
- Preheat the oven to 180C, 160C fan, gas mark 4. Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat, then fry off the meatballs in the olive oil until brown on all sides. Transfer to a baking tray, and finish in the oven for 5-10 minutes until cooked through.
- Fill your largest saucepan 3/4s full with water and bring to the boil. Cook the pasta according to the instructions, for fresh pasta no more than 4 minutes. Drain, but retain a little of the pasta water. Ladle in the tomato sauce, mixing it through, until you achieve the required blend.
- Pile the pasta onto plates or into bowls, arrange the meatballs, and then top with more parmesan and the chopped basil. Drizzle with a little olive oil if you wish.