This recipe has all the elements of comfort food: beef and pork meatballs with an oozing cheesy filling, a rich tomato sauce and pasta.
• Prep Time: 20 minutes
• Cook Time: 30 minutes
• Yield: Serves 6
• 3 bay leaves
• 50ml red wine
• 500ml passata
• 2 tbsps olive oil
• 400g beef mince
• 300g pork mince
• ½ tsp chilli flakes
• ½ tsp fennel seeds
• 2 tsps tomato purée
• 2 tsps dried oregano
• 4 garlic cloves, crushed
• 2 tsps golden caster sugar
• 1 large onion, finely chopped
• crusty bread, to serve (optional)
• 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
• 400g macaroni or other pasta shape
• 200g taleggio or mozzarella, chopped into small chunks
- Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Mix the pork and beef mince with the fennel seeds, chilli, 1 tsp oregano and some seasoning in a large bowl until combined. Divide and shape into 18 meatballs with a nugget or two of taleggio in the middle (save some for the top), then chill for 10 mins.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan (use a flameproof casserole dish if you can – it’ll save on washing up). Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sizzle until softened (about 8 mins). Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 min more, then add the tomato purée, wine, tomatoes, passata, bay leaves, sugar, the remaining oregano and lots of seasoning, then cover with a lid and simmer for 20 mins. Meanwhile, arrange the meatballs on a baking tray lined with foil, drizzle with the remaining oil and bake for 10 mins.
- Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling salted water according to packet instructions, then drain, reserving some water. If the pan isn't ovenproof, tip the sauce into a casserole dish. Stir the pasta into the sauce, along with the liquid from the meatballs and some pasta water if it needs thinning. Turn the grill to a medium-high setting.
- Nestle the meatballs into the pasta, so that they poke out the top. Scatter the remaining taleggio over the top and grill for 5-10 mins until the cheese and meatballs are golden. Serve with crusty bread, if you like.
This great family recipe is thanks to BBC Goodfood Recipes at https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/melting-meatball-macaroni