It's Monday night - back to the old routine - sport, in and out, people leaving early - and a meal has to fit in there somewhere!!
I liked the look of this recipe - you have the meatballs - who doesn't love meatballs, but you didn't have to pre-cook them - just pop them into the simmering sauce, cover and wait 20 minutes!! How easy is that? They were pretty tasty too!
Chicken Meatballs and Spaghetti
1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves crushed garlic
100g pancetta, finely chopped
3 tbs tomato paste
500g bottle of good quality tomato pasta sauce with basil added
400g chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup torn basil leaves, plus extra to serve
500g dried spaghetti
1kg chicken breast mince
1/2 bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped finely
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
50g pine nuts, toasted *
1/4 cup pesto
Process the bread in a food processor, and put to one side. Use the food processor to chop the onion and garlic for the sauce, put to one side. Then use the food processor to chop your parsley. If you have the right attachment, you can also grate your parmesan. Now I can hear you now "Madame T" "if you had a Thermomix you could do it all in there!!!" Well I don't so I have to make do!! Of course you can do all this manually, but why make it hard on yourself??
Mix all the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl. Shape into small walnut sized balls. Place on a foil lined tray and place in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up. Just a tip - having slightly wet hands makes for easier meatball rolling!!!
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the chopped pancetta and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the onion is soft. Add the tomato paste, and stir to combine. Add the pasta sauce, tomatoes and basil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low. Add the meatballs, try and stir the meatballs gently into the sauce (without breaking them - so that they are immersed in the sauce). Cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.
Serve over spaghetti that has been cooked according to packet directions. Top with more shredded basil and grated parmesan cheese.
* To toast pine nuts - heat a non stick frypan over medium heat, add the pine nuts, and constantly stir over the heat until they have browned. Once browned remove immediately from the pan, or they will continue cooking and burn.
The beauty about this dish is that there is hardly any fat in the dish - and not having to pre cook the meatballs really saves you time and mess!! Yes, I admit making the meatballs takes a little time - but it is so much nicer than just having the usual spag bol!!! Get the kids involved (if you dare!!!) let them make the meatballs!!!!