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Ghoulish meatballs with wriggly snake pasta
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2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp caster sugar
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
300g pack fresh basil tagliatelle
150g pack italian mozzarella cherries (or mini mozzarellas)
small handful pitted black olives
40g fresh white or brown breadcrumbs
500g lean beef mince (10% fat)
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
10g coriander, leaves and stalks, roughly chopped
10g basil, leaves and stalks, roughly chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp ground paprika
pinch chilli powder
1. Preheat the oven to 220 ̊C, gas mark 7. Put the meatball ingredients in a food processor, season and blitz until combined. Using wet hands to stop the mixture sticking, shape into walnut-sized balls.
2. Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof casserole dish over a medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and gently turn in the oil. There is no need to brown them at this stage, simply put the dish in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, turning the meatballs over halfway through.
3. Stir the balsamic vinegar and sugar into the chopped tomatoes, season, then pour over the lightly browned meatballs. Return to the oven for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through.
4. Just before the meatballs are ready, cook the pasta according to pack instructions. To serve, divide the tagliatelle between plates and spoon over the meatballs and sauce. To give the dish a ghoulish appearance, sit the mozzarella cherries among the meatballs. Put thin slices of black olive onto each ball to make them look like eyeballs, then finish off by using the tip of a knife or a cocktail stick dipped into the tomato sauce to draw on lines to make the eyeballs look bloodshot.
Typical values per serving: