Meatballs with spaghetti

meatballs with spaghetti
Serves 4
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

500g Quality Mark beef mince
½ cup finely chopped curly leaf parsley
¼ cup fresh white breadcrumbs
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 onion, finely sliced
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes in juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar (optional)
350g dried spaghetti

to serve
Grated cheese
Courgette ribbons and other seasonal vegetables

1. To make the meatballs, place the beef mince, parsley, breadcrumbs, egg, milk and dried oregano in a large bowl. Season and mix well using clean hands. Divide the mince mixture into 16 meatballs, rolling them gently. Place on a large plate then cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
2. To make the spaghetti sauce, heat a dash of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Remove meatballs from the refrigerator and place in the frying pan. Cook until browned, then transfer to a plate.
3. Lower heat and add the onion, cooking until soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes, red wine vinegar and sugar (if using).
4. Return meatballs to the frying pan, cover and cook over a low heat for one hour. Check from time to time to ensure they are not sticking on the bottom of the pan.
5. Just before the meatballs are cooked, place a large saucepan of lightly salted water on to boil. Once boiling, add the spaghetti and cook for about eight minutes. Drain the spaghetti, reserving one cup of the cooking water. Add this cooking water to the pan with the meatballs and stir through to loosen the sauce.
6. Place half of the meatballs and sauce on a warmed serving platter. Add the spaghetti and stir through a little bit, then top with the remaining meatballs and sauce. Serve topped with your favourite grated cheese and a side of colourful vegetables.

tips and tricks
● Chilling the meatballs for a little while will help them keep their shape during cooking.
● Get some little hands helping along the way – shaping the meatballs is a perfect job for children.
● To boost the fire content of this dish, you can use wholegrain breadcrumbs as well as wholemeal pasta.
● If you would like to stretch the dish out further to feed an extra mouth or two, add one can of drained lentils to the sauce when the meatballs are just about cooked. 

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