This has to be one of the most made meals in my house, I never need an excuse to make this, as it always goes down so well.
You can make this for a decadent mid week meal, dinner party or even for yourself,( just remember to freeze it for later).
The sauces “secret” ingredient is so simple, but it really does add that extra ‘something’ to the meal, that you will always add it in future.
The secret you ask? Its butter. And I’m talking a lot. This gives an extra depth to the richness of the tomato sauce, and a silkiness that I personally find a lot of sauces lack.
Concerning the fat content with your mince, I find that it is always better to get a higher fat content as the flavour is in the fat, but of course, you can substitute it for a lower fat content if that is your preference.
Ingredients (serves 4 hungry adults)
( for the meatballs)
200g 20% Fat Beef Mince
2 Garlic Cloves, grated
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 Teaspoon Oregano
1 Teaspoon Thyme
1 Teaspoon Parsley
1 slice of bread, soaked in milk.
Salt and Pepper to taste.
( for the tomato sauce)
60g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tin of plum tomatoes
1/2 lemon, ( just the juice)
50g Basil, torn
150g Salted Butter
4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Oregano
1 Tablespoon Thyme
1 Tablespoon Parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Packet of Linguine
Starting with the sauce, turn on your hob to a medium setting/ flame and add a heavy bottomed saucepan. When the saucepan feels hot, add your olive oil.
Chop the celery, garlic and add to the saucepan. Stir for 3-4 minutes until softened, then add the halved cherry tomatoes. Turn down the heat at this point ,and stir together, and using your spoon, slightly break up the tomatoes. Allow to cook for a further 5 minutes.
Add the tinned tomatoes, herbs and butter at this point, and allow to bubble away on a low temperature for a further 5 minutes. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper and leave to simmer and thicken.
To make the meatballs, using a bowl, soak 1 piece of bread in a little milk, so that the bread has thoroughly soaked it up ( rather than completely submerging it). In a mixing bowl, add the beef mince, minced garlic, herbs, salt and pepper and mustard together, then tear the bread up and add to the bowl.
Get two plates ready next to you, one with around 20g plain flour, and one with nothing on it.
Using you hands, mix all of the ingredients together, and start rolling the meat into 5 cm balls. Roll the prepared balls in flour, then set onto the other plate.
At this point, turn on your pasta ,cook to the instructions on the packet, and salt your water with 2 tablespoons of fine salt. This helps flavour the pasta!
While the pasta is cooking, start cooking the meatballs. Take a large frying pan, and add 5 tablespoons of olive oil, and set your hob to high. As soon as the oil is slightly smoking, add all of the balls. The trick is to keep moving them around, whilst gently moving them with a spoon. You want them all to be evenly coated , browned and crispy on the outside, while slightly pink and moist on the inside.This should take 8 minutes in total.
When the pasta is ready, drain, but keep a small teacups worth of pasta water behind and add to the tomato sauce. This helps thicken and flavour the tomato sauce. Add all of the meatballs into the sauce or layer with pasta, tomato sauce then meatballs on top. Serve with lashings of Parmesan and freshly torn basil.