If you want a really easy cheat recipe then this is what I do (usually I do make mine from scratch). Buy a pack of waitrose aberdeen angus meatballs. But in a casserole dish (needs a lid). add a chopped onion, chopped mushrooms, garlic, mixed herbs, beef stock cube dissolved in a mug of hot water, tin of tomatoes, teaspoon of sugar, dash of tabasco and dash of worcestershire sauce and a good glug of red wine. Salt and pepper. Pop lid on and bung in the oven for 45mins-1hour. I also sometimes add new potatoes so it is a meal in one, or serve it with spaghetti and grated parmesean. HTH
700g/1lb 8oz jar passata
2 tsp dark muscovado sugar
1 lemon, grated rind and juice only
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 red chilli, de-seeded and roughly chopped
small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
75g/3oz crustless white bread
250g/9oz lean minced beef
300g/11oz pasta shapes, such as spirals or penne
2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
2. Place the passata, sugar and lemon juice in a pan and heat gently.
2. Meanwhile, place the garlic, chilli, parsley and lemon rind in a food processor and blend until finely chopped. Add the bread and blend to make crumbs. Finally add the mince, egg and some salt and pepper and pulse briefly until well blended - take care not to overblend or the mixture will lose its texture.
3. Shape the mixture into 20 small balls and drop them into the passata sauce. Simmer gently for 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pan of boiling salted water according to packet instructions.
5. Drain the pasta, toss with the meatball sauce then turn into a heatproof dish. Scatter over the parmesan and a good grinding of black pepper and bake for 20 minutes until the top is crusty and golden.
You need the egg and breadcrumbs to bind the mince together otherwise when you cook it it will fall apart. Passata is just tomatoes, basically you can wizz up a couple of tins of toms and pass through a seive, same result.
For a good flavour to the sauce you can add some chopped (very finely) anchovies and a couple of squares of good quality dark chocolate. I know that sounds bizzare but trust me it gives a really rich tomatoey sauce.
I do when I make my own, but when I use the Waitrose ones I just bung it all in the pan raw and cook it in the oven, I do take the lid of for the last 15mins to reduce the sauce down a bit and brown them up. It is always a great sucess. Just don't stir them for 1/2 hour (when cooking) to ensure the meatballs don't fall apart. I discovered this method once when I was running late and needed to get supper on fast.
Here's how I do meat balls
1 red onion
red wine if theres any left ( rare)
chop onions very finely
squish with hands into mince
add salt, garlic pepper and cumin power
squish some more.
Shape into balls - put in fridge for a while(they hold together better when browning)
Brown in a little oil
Pop in casserole dish
Pop tin of toms in saucepan with chilli flakes worcester sauce & wine.
Bring to boil then put on top of meatballs.
Pop in oven for 20 mins covered andserve with rice