An easy weeknight meal of homemade meatballs flavoured with lots of herbs and garlic and cooked in a rich tomato sauce. Making your own meatballs sounds like a faff, however, they’re incredibly simple to make and the flavourings can be easily changed to transform them into something else entirely. Served with spaghetti makes this dish a firm family favourite and of course, a mountain of grated parmesan cheese is a must.
Pasta is one of those perfect meals that is ready in a hurry after a long day at work. There are so many recipe variations that there is no way that it ever becomes boring. You can include fish, shellfish, meat, legumes, and vegetables; there is a way to cook pasta to suit everyone. Even if pasta isn’t your bag you can serve it with spiralized vegetables like courgetti and still get in on the fun.
To create the meatballs I soaked the breadcrumbs in Organic Free Range semi-skimmed milk. Soaking the breadcrumbs in milk is a classic method that helps to keep the meatballs light and moist. Last week I had the opportunity to visit one of Arla’s organic farmers in West Sussex for an education in the environment that their cows are reared, looked after and how the organic free-range milk is produced. I love learning about where our food comes from and being invited right to the source is very rare so I feel really privileged to have been invited. Interestingly, I also learned that Arla is a farmer-owned cooperative, which means that they own the business that many may not know.
It was lovely to see the calves running in the fields in their natural habitat, free and enjoying life. We even got to see a newborn calf who was only 5 minutes old, seeing it try to take its first steps was an amazing experience. With organic milk, you can be assured that the animals welfare is of the upmost importance. Also, organic milk is free from artificial fertilisers or herbicides with no routine use of antibiotics.
We were treated to lunch and a cooking demonstration using the organic milk where the chef made some smoked fish scotch eggs and a really delicious creme brulee!
An easy weeknight meal of homemade meatballs flavoured with lots of herbs and garlic and cooked in a rich tomato sauce.
- 600 g passata
- 500 g minced beef, lamb, turkey, chicken or veal
- 150 g white bread
- 250 ml Arla Organic Free Range milk
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh basil chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh oregano chopped
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 2 onions diced
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Boil some water for the pasta.
Soak the bread in the Arla Organic Free Range milk and set aside until needed.
In a bowl, mix together the minced beef, garlic, herbs, onion, and chilli flakes.
Squeeze out the excess milk from the bread and add it to the meat mix. Stir through and then mould them into 10-12 meatballs.
Place the meatballs onto a baking tray and cook in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes.
While the meatballs are in the oven, add the spaghetti to the boiling water.
In a large saucepan, heat a little oil and pour in the remaining onion and minced garlic. Cook for a few minutes before adding the passata and balsamic vinegar on a medium heat. Allow the sauce to simmer for 10-15 minutes.
When the meatballs are cooked through add to the sauce and cook for a further 10 minutes. Stir through the spaghetti making sure it's completely covered with the sauce.
Serve with lots of grated parmesan cheese on top.
Back to the meatball recipe, adding lots of herbs means that the meatballs are fresh and full of flavour. The rich tomato sauce made using passata coats the meatballs and pasta again adding lots of flavour. When we make this recipe there is always plenty leftover for another dinner or lunch later in the week, it really just keeps giving.
*This recipe was commissioned by Arla Free Range Milk, but all opinions are my own.