There’s been a lot of hoo-hah in the media about the ‘meat’ content in processed foods. A lot of it has gone completely over my head. I don’t really comprehend ‘convenience’ food. As fussy as I am about most things I am especially fussy about how food is prepared and cooked. It’s the old addage of ‘if you want something doing right, do it yourself’ – I’d rather do it myself. I don’t find it convenient to compromise on taste and quality.
With meatballs under fire in the recent press I had a craving for them. Mention a foodstuff to me a few times and I’ll want it. Well, not the meatballs they were talking about, but ‘my’ meatballs. Quick, simple, cheap and wholesome. You can add to the recipe and make it your own, but for starters, all you’ll need is:
1 Small Onion
500g Lean Minced Beef
Salt & Pepper for seasoning.
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
Your choice of pasta
Chop the onion in half. Finely dice the first half and pop in a mixing bowl. Slice the second half into strips and add to a large oven proof dish.
To the mixing bowl, add the mince and some salt and pepper to season.
Using a firm spoon, work the onion into the mince until the mince breaks down and starts to stick together. Avoid over working the mince, the more of a paste it becomes, the denser your meatballs will be. Ideally the mix should just and so hold together when pressed firmly.
Now for the sticky bit! Get your hands in the bowl and roll your mince and onion mixture into around 20 balls of the same size (five per person to serve four people).
Lay out your perfect little meatballs in the oven proof dish on top of the sliced onions and pop in a preheated oven on a high heat (around 200c) for 10 minutes.
After the meatballs have been in the oven for 10 minutes and have just started to brown on top, take them out of the oven, pour over the tinned tomatoes and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.
During this time, cook some pasta of your choosing (I like spaghetti with meatballs) and voila! A quick and hearty meal with no added blah blah blah.
This is the recipe at its most basic but…
Love garlic? Add 3 cloves of crushed garlic to your mince mixture and some sliced garlic to the onions in the oven dish.
Like it herby? Add some dried basil and/or oregano to the mince mixture and some fresh basil to the tomato sauce.
Like it spicy? Add some ceyenne pepper and/or paprika to the mince mixture and a chopped chilli to the tomato sauce.
Love your veg? Roast some peppers, mushrooms and courgette and mix in to your tomato sauce.
Basically, you can be as fussy as you like with this recipe; play around with it, you’re not going to break it!