This is a recipe for a classic dish made easy. Using a dollop of pesto gives the meatballs an easy shortcut to rich flavour, the cheese and paprika helping to season the meatballs, with the savoury flavour from the sun dried tomatoes adding a rich depth. Poaching the meatballs in the sauce ensures that they remain succulent, juicy and full of flavour.
1 tbsp Early Harvest Olive Oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 tins good quality plum tomatoes
Salt and pepper
275g pork mince (minimum 10% fat)
275g beef mince (minimum 10% fat)
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
50g dried breadcrumbs, re-hydrated with 100ml water
½ tsp dried oregano
300g dried spaghetti
30g flat leaf parsley, leaves separated from stalks and finely chopped
Place a large pan on a medium heat, add the olive oil and when hot, add the garlic. Fry until lightly golden, add the tinned tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and bring up to a simmer. Use a wooden spoon to break down the tomatoes. Cook for 30 minutes so the tomatoes lose their raw flavour.
Whilst the tomatoes are cooking, in a bowl bring together the pork and beef mince, onion, breadcrumbs, pesto and oregano, then season with ½ tsp salt and a decent amount of ground black pepper. Use your hands to mix together until everything is well combined but not overworked. Shape the mix into golf ball sized pieces, wetting your hands with a little water to stop them sticking, then place on a tray and put in the fridge for 20 minutes whilst the tomatoes cook.
Use a hand blender to make the sauce a little smoother or just mash with a fork. Place the meatballs in the sauce, cover with a lid and adjust the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for ten minutes then turn the meatballs over, spooning the sauce on top. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes. To check that they are cooked inside, insert a knife or metal skewer into the middle of a meatball then place it on the edge of your lower lip. It should feel hot, so if its is only warm, cook for another 5 minutes. If cooked, turn the heat off and leave to rest.
Place a large pan of heavily salted water on a high heat. When boiling, add the spaghetti and cook for 8-10 minutes so that it is slightly firm to the bite (or follow the packet instructions). Drain in a colander and allow to steam dry for a minute or 2. Tip the pasta into the meatballs and gently stir through so that the sauce coats all of the spaghetti. Add the parsley and stir through again Divide between plates or bowls then grate the Parmesan on top, as much or as little as you prefer.