#spaghetti + meatballs
When I first opened my mystery basket on Dinner Divas and saw the mince the only thing that went through my mind was MEATBALLS!! Nothing else … I never saw the chicken … in fact I did not register any of the other mystery ingredients … but at that moment in time and space, in front of all the cameras your brain just freezes. In retrospect you always end up quizzing yourself … I could have done this or I could of done that … in situations like this hysteria creeps in and disrupt your thoughts but I was resolute and determined to make this dish and prepare it well.
The other thing was that I had made a commitment to myself before I entered the competition … to stick with my gut, make a decision, go with it and not entertain any reservations. When you start doubting or second guessing yourself, this is when things tend to go awry and in a competition there is no time for messing about.
When I saw Kristy making the same dish, I have to admit I was apprehensive and the seeds of doubt were teasing my brain. Fortunately I had the clarity of mind to press on – it was too late to back track – I had to stick to what I believe in and what I know I can do well …
Well the judges did not think so – “oh dear another meatball dish – really” + “the meatballs were just disgusting” … this cut deep at that moment in time – but now I am laughing about it all. I love Caro + Aubrey + Andrew – they have crept deep into my heart and they will have a very special place in my life forever and ever …
So here is my version of meatballs – something between my mom’s meatballs + what i have tasted in New York + something I have tasted in Italy. I added some mint + pine nuts + loads of veggies and used my fantastic tomato sauce which you can look up here …
#spaghetti + meatballs
meatballs with mint + pine nuts = fab grecian fare
- 500g Extra lean mince
- 4 Garlic cloves - grated
- 1 Potato large - grated
- 3 Thick butternut rings – grated
- 1 Carrot - grated
- 2 Small onions – grated
- 50g Pine nuts – lightly fried in a non stick pan till golden brown
- 1 Slice of white bread – soaked in water and excess water squeezed out
- 1 Egg
- Handful of finely chopped parsley
- 1 t Dry mint
- 1 t Salt
- ½ t Freshly ground black pepper
- Put your oven on grill.
- Mix all ingredients together. Fry a small teaspoon and taste for seasoning – I normally use the microwave.
- Make small balls and grill till done - +- 10 minutes. After first 5 minutes turn them around and cook for another few minutes.
- Put in pasta sauce and simmer for a minute or two. Serve on spaghetti + parmesan shavings + fresh basil.
Click here for recipe.
I made a tomato pasta sauce with well-renowned and fabulous Nina Timm at her home earlier today. What an honour and absolute delight to meet and spend a day with this amazing woman! Yip, she is the wonder behind the much followed www.my-easy-cooking.com blog. We laughed, we cooked and shared so many stories from our past and talked about the thrills of living in today…. I will be chatting to her tomorrow on her RSG radio broadcast between 9 and 10 am and share what we did today. I am so inspired and so alive … Nina I thank you for one of the best days of my life and to cooking up many more memories in the future!
Back to the sauce … I am a freakishly mad about tomatoes. So obviously my most favourite pasta sauce is a tomato-based sauce … made from fresh, ripe, juicy tomatoes that brim with flavour. I read about this method to make tomato sauce a few years ago in a magazine – unfortunately I cannot remember or find the magazine between the thousands of foodie magazines lying around in my house – please try this, it is definitely the most delicious tomato sauce you will ever taste!!
Variations you can add to the tomato sauce + remember always sprinkle generously with shaved parmesan!
- Cut chorizo sausages in slices and add – this makes it a rich and spicy dish.
- Bacon (+ chilies optional) – everyone loves bacon! Adding a somewhat smoky flavour to your pasta.
- Meatballs – you can make this on Sunday and just add in the week to your pasta dish.
- Lots of fresh chopped chilies – simple, yet always deliciously and one of my favourites.
- Capers + olives + anchovies + chilies – my absolute favourite!
- Any seafood – prawns, calamari, fish, mussels – add them to the tomato based sauce at the end of the cooking process – let it simmer through for 5 minutes – taste for seasoning again after you have added any seafood.
- Fresh herbs (basil, parsley) and lots of rocket – mix it with the sauce – yum.
- Roasted vegetables + olives + capers + crumbled feta – these produce lovely Mediterranean tastes.
- Artichokes, creamy feta cheese + sprinkle of dry oregano (use the oregano very sparingly).
- Fresh slices of buffalo mozzarella + sprinkled with smoked Maldon salt .
tomato pasta sauce + 10 variations to spice it up
- 900g Rosa tomatoes
- 200ml Olive oil – good quality (I know this sounds a lot but the tomatoes burst open to combine with the olive oil, garlic and basil - and creates the most amazing sauce )
- 8 Garlic cloves – peeled but kept in whole segments
- Handful fresh Basil
- Salt and black pepper
- 150 – 200g Fresh parmesan cheese – shaved with potato peeler
- 500g Penne pasta (or spaghetti)
- Add the olive oil to a large pan / pot and add the garlic and about one handful of torn basil leaves. Heat the oil very slowly on low-medium – we want to infuse the oil with the garlic and basil. Infuse for about 5 minutes – please don’t burn the garlic.
- Add all the tomatoes, turn up the heat to medium high and cook for +- 20 minutes without the saucepan lid.
- You will see the tomatoes will start to burst open and infuse with the olive oil.
- Season generously with salt and freshly grounded black pepper. Please be sure to taste when you season!
- Just before serving, add the rest of the basil and sprinkle generously with shaved parmesan
- You can use the sauce just as is or see the 10 variations above you can add at the end for an interesting twist.