spaghetti with chunky meatballs

every now and then i need a decent plate full of food. that's when i cook a large batch of meatballs. these are quite chunky and rich but perfect after a long day at work! really just a proper feed. they do have a kind of oriental flavour that goes wonderful with the tomato sauce. i put a teaspoon of cinnamon and fennel seeds into the meat-mixture, but if you are not into those oriental flavours - simply use dried oregano, a hand full of fresh basil or use more parsley. i find the lovely cinnamon and the quite strong fennel seeds a lovely blend - and together with a big pot of spaghetti perfect comfort food. i hope the girls over at ruths once upon a feast will tuck into it, asap. friday is the official presto pasta night. but i think it could be just any day of the week. at least today, it's wednesday.


spaghetti (about 300-350g)
olive oil for frying

500g minced beef
50g soft white bread, cut in cubes and soaked in about 5 tablespoons of milk
2 tablespoons of flat leaf parley, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 small red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese
a pinch of salt & freshly ground pepper

simple tomato sauce
1 medium red onion, diced finely
1 carrot, diced finely
1 tablespoon of tomato purée
2 cans diced tomatoes
some flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

first make the easy-peasy tomato sugo. heat some olive oil in a depp sided pan, add onion, carrot and tomato purée - mix and let sauté for a bit until it softens and caramelises. now add the canned tomatoes, increase heat. season with salt and pepper and let it cook and bubble until the mixture has thickened. add chopped parsley and remove from heat.

for the meatballs put all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well (best done by hand - try to knead it as if it was a bread dough). then take about a teaspoon of meat-mixture and roll into meatballs (about 20?). it's best to roll them between your palms so they are compact and smooth. do so until all meat-mixture is rolled into meatballs.
heat some olive oil in a large frying-pan and fry the meatballs on both sides until golden brown and a little crunchy on the outside. work in batches and keep the cooked ones warm.

cook the spaghetti in a large pot filled with salted water until al dente. then drain and serve with the meatballs, a generous ladleful of tomato sauce and some freshly grated parmesan cheese on top.