Spaghetti and meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs

Adapted from Learn to Cook Low GI by Lorna Rhodes

I haven’t posted properly in about a week, so what’s been occurring?  First I had a lovely week away at my mum’s.  It was my stepdad’s birthday and C was very excited to spend time with Granny, Gramps and some extended family.  I knew when I got back home I’d need to crack on with the finishing touches to a few recipes before I posted them.  I don’t like to post ‘half-baked’ (sorry) recipes that I haven’t fully tested.  So I cracked on with them on my return, only to suffer repeated disasters, dahling.  Actually that’s a bit too melodramatic.  Yes I did nearly set off the smoke alarm when one loaf of bread inexplicably incinerated.  I had to carry it out the garden it was so bad.  But the other recipes kind of went ok again, but not well enough to post.  I wasn’t one tweak away from perfection after all.  And lastly, I got a migraine.  I’ve been getting them since I was a teenager and now, over two decades later, I know my trigger is not enough sleep.  And I have a toddler.  Jokes!  What freaked me out this time was that it was in a different place.  Normally I know I’m getting one because I can see a flashing line, top right of my vision and the pain comes just above my right eye.  This time my vision went crazy bottom left and I got a pain over my left eye.  This doesn’t happen very often, the change in migraine habit, so I’m thinking is this the big one?  Is this the time my poor blood vessels give up on me?  Well I’m still typing so clearly not, but I was feeling ‘other worldly’ for a while there.  If you get them too you might know what I mean?   I’m just not terribly bright for a few days after a migraine.  Lots of walking into rooms but forgetting why I’ve gone there.  And my autopilot breaks.  I’m often stood in front of the open fridge wondering what I’m supposed to be getting (it’s usually milk for tea).  But I am recovered so I do have something to post for you and it is a family favourite.  I don’t know what the obsession is that the kids have with sausages and pasta, but there it is.  Ask C what she’d like for tea and invariably she will say “pasta” (sometimes she says “cake” and then I laugh a lot) closely followed by “sausages”.  The media will have you believe the things they put in sausages will see you off the planet quicker than you ought to go, so here is a useful way around the problem.  Pork based meatballs meet the need for sausages, but you know exactly what’s in them.  Teamed with a tomato sauce and pasta and the child is none the wiser.  Marvellous.

Spaghetti and meatballs

Prep time 15 minutes Cook time 30 minutes Makes 4 (adult) servings*

  • 500g minced pork
  • 2 slices gluten-free bread (a good way to use bread that’s started disintegrating!)
  • 120ml milk, I used lactose-free but a dairy alternative would be fine
  • 2 small onions, one grated finely and the other chopped finely
  • beaten egg (you won’t need a whole large one unfortunately so use a small one if you have one)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard (check it is gluten-free)
  • some freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tbsps sunflower oil
  • 500g carton passata
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 320g gluten-free spaghetti
  • salt and pepper

Pour the milk into a shallow dish and soak the bread slices for 10 minutes.  In the meantime grate one of the onions into a bowl, add the pork mince, the mustard, the nutmeg and some salt and pepper.  When the 10 minutes is up squeeze the excess milk out of the bread slices and crumble them into the bowl.  Discard the milk.  Add some of the beaten egg (about half a large) and mix together with your hands.  Add more egg if necessary to bring the ingredients together.  Roll up balls of the mixture, about the size of a walnut, and place on a tray.**  Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the meatballs on all sides until golden brown and cooked through, which will take about 10 minutes.  You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your pan.  Remove the cooked meatballs and keep to one side while you prepare the sauce.  Add the chopped onion to the pan and fry gently over a low heat for around 8 minutes.  In the meantime bring to the boil a large pan of water to cook your pasta.  Add the garlic to the onion pan and soften this for 2 minutes before also adding the carton of passata.  Measure in the mixed herbs and bring the sauce to a simmer.  Return the cooked meatballs to the pan, stir well, and simmer very gently.  Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the packet instructions.  Check the seasoning in the meatball sauce and add more salt and pepper if necessary.  Drain the spaghetti well and place in warmed bowls, top with meatballs and sauce, and serve.

* The meatballs can be frozen uncooked, prior to the frying stage.  I find it easiest to line a small baking sheet with parchment paper and place the meatballs on this before freezing, transferring to a ziplock bag when completely frozen.  Defrost on a covered plate overnight (or for at least 8 hours) in the fridge, and pick up the recipe again from the frying stage **.


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