I was bored one day (same as Ragu day)  and wanted to make something a bit different to trusty old Spag Bol, which the kids love, that still had that rich comforting flavour. I thought to myself “what kid doesn’t love meatballs?”  There is something very attractive to them about stabbing a big ball of mince with a fork and shoving it in their mouths!  It’s much more fun than cutting a piece of steak or broccoli……and what better to pair it with than long strands of pasta that they can play with and twirl around and end up with tomato sauce from ear to ear.  I know I am not the first to invent the meatball, however, I do believe that these ones rank pretty high on the tasty meatball scale (which I have just invented)!

Prep time:   25 Minutes         Cooking time:  30 Minutes           $  Low Budget

Serves 4 hungry people with enough left over to cause fights!

For the balls:

Olive oil for frying

500gms pork mince

2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped

a handful of thyme sprigs, leaves removed and stalks discarded

2tsp of fennel seeds, bashed about a bit in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt

1/2 cup of grated parmesan

1 tbs tomato paste

1 tbs chutney (BBQ sauce will do)

1 egg

1/2 a cup of breadcrumbs

Salt and Pepper

For the sauce:

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 a cup of dry white wine

1 x 700gm bottle of tomato sugo (italian tomato sauce)

1 tsp sugar

1 tbs tomato paste

salt and pepper

2 tbs chopped continental parsley

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Freshly grated parmesan to serve

1 packet of spaghetti, cooked according to packet instructions

Place all the meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl, roll up your sleeves,  remove your wedding rings, take a sip of your wine and get in there.  Squish the ingredients until well combined.  Grab a teaspoon and place a small amount of the mixture in the palm of your hand and roll around until you have a nice tight little ball.  Repeat with the remaining mixture.

Heat a heavy based, non-stick fry pan with a little oil and brown the meatballs until golden.  They won’t be cooked through but will cook in the sauce later.  You may need to do this in batches.  Drain on paper towel and set aside.

In the same pan fry, gently fry the garlic and oregano for about 30 seconds before adding the wine.  Allow the wine to reduce by half before adding the tomato sauce, sugar, tomato paste and salt and pepper.  Stir the sauce, bring to a low simmer and add the meatballs.

When you have drained the pasta, add the chopped parsley and stir through the sauce.  Immediately toss the pasta through the sauce.  Divide between four large bowls, top with freshly grated parmesan and a drizzle of good olive oil.  Bellisimo!!