… all covered in cheese. I lost my poor meatball, when somebody sneezed.
If you were ever a child (and I think that most of us were) then you’ve probably heard at least the first verse of the popular folk song “On Top of Spaghetti”. When my nephews came to stay for a week over the summer holidays, my eldest nephew constantly sang it for about two days until I introduced them both to Ging Gang Goolie. They’re seven and five so that went down well.
With that brain worm firmly stuck in my head I announced to the boys that we were going to make spaghetti meatballs. The deal when they come to my house is that I’ll cook their favourite meals, but they have to help. Granny does the washing up.
I had a packet of Heck’s chicken Italia sausages in the fridge that needed eating, so instead of going to the butcher’s for some pork sausage meat, I slid the sausages out of their cases and used those as the basis of the meatballs. Because they’re made from chicken it gives the meatballs a lighter and more delicate texture than pork, and allows the Italian flavours to shine through.
For a sauce we made my famous Italian “splodge”, which is basically made from whatever vegetables are in the fridge, a tin of tomatoes and Italian herbs and spices. I’ve been making it for so many years that I no longer even have to think about what I’m doing, it’s just second nature to me.
The boys really enjoyed making the meatballs, although they were both a little uncertain about getting their hands into the mixture and rolling it into balls. Once I’d got them started though, it was difficult to persuade them to stop!
Mum told me when we were about halfway through cooking the meal that the boys don’t like meatballs. You can imagine my response! They delighted in proving her wrong and both of them went back for seconds.
All in all, it was a quick and fun recipe that got us all involved in the kitchen. Plus it tasted great too!
On Top of Spaghetti Meatballs
Feeds: 4 Takes: 30 minutes
340g Heck chicken Italia sausages
35g fresh breadcrumbs
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 sticks of celery, finely diced
1 tbsp tomato puree
400g tinned chopped tomatoes
Dash of Lea & Perrins
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 red pepper, finely sliced
200g dried spaghetti
100g cheddar cheese, grated
Remove the sausages from their casing and place in a bowl. Add the breadcrumbs to the bowl and mash the sausage innards and crumbs together with a fork. Using your hands, scoop up pieces of the meat mixture and form into evenly sized balls.
Place a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the oil. When the oil has heated, add the meatballs to the pan. Fry the meatballs for 5-10 minutes, turning occasionally, until they’ve browned on all sides.
Remove the meatballs from the frying pan and set aside. Add the chopped onion, crushed garlic, and diced celery to the frying pan and sauté until the onion turns translucent.
Tip the onion, garlic, and oil into a medium saucepan and add the tomato puree. Place the saucepan over a medium heat. Mix the puree in with a wooden spoon, then add the chopped tomatoes to the pan. Stir well.
Add a dash of Lea & Perrins, and the paprika, basil and oregano. If you happen to drop the entire container of basil into the sauce, don’t panic. Sam did the exact same thing and it still tasted amazing.
Stir the new ingredients into the tomato sauce and simmer for five minutes. Add the meatballs and red pepper to the saucepan, stir them in and allow to continue simmering, stirring occasionally.
Cook your spaghetti according to the packet instructions and then drain. Serve with the meatballs, smothered in cheese.