Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Spicy meatballs in tomato sauce with pasta - Merry Christmas

Now it’s only days away, we can scream and shout about the fact that it’s Christmas! Although many of us, okay me, have been secretly bursting with excitement since August, we can now officially get out the Santa hats and put on the Xmas tunes without the guilt.

It’s only Wednesday and I’ve already watched enough Christmas food programmes this week to get me through the next five Christmases, currently sitting on the sofa with a mug of mulled wine watching Nigel Slater (ooooh, naughty).

If you've managed to escape this array of festive food programmes you clearly don’t own a TV, but you can pick up some great festive ideas, a favourite of mine being The Hairy Bikers’ Christmas pudding vodka.

This week my recipe isn’t exactly Christmasy I admit, but when do spicy meatballs in tomato sauce not go down well, whatever the time of year?

There is a tenuous festive link however, as the recipe was originally given to me by a friend Jill, who I will see this weekend for the first time in ages while she’s home for the Christmas period.

It’s a really easy recipe and fun to make with the kids (not that I have any, but I am one at times) because you can get your hands in. Add the chilli sauce to suit your taste, serve with spaghetti and parmesan and you will not be disappointed.

And apparently, according to my personal on-call taste-tester, it tastes even better heated up the next day when the flavours have intensified.

If you get fed up of turkey this Christmas and want something stodgy and warming to cure a hangover, give this a go and you will thank me, I'm sure.

Merry Christmas everyone!!!


For the meatballs
Standard pack of minced meat (about 500g)
1 small onion
2 garlic gloves
1 beef stock cube
1 tsp hot chilli power (or more if you like it extra hot)
1 tsp paprika
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
Twist of salt and pepper
Fresh parsley
1 egg
Squeeze of chilli sauce (to taste)

For the sauce
1 glove of garlic
450g can of chopped tomatoes
Pinch of oregano
Salt and pepper


1) Mix the meatball ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and combine with your hands. Add chilli sauce to combine or use ketchup if you like it milder.
2) Mould the mix into small balls and fry lightly in a frying pan with a little oil for a few minutes until sealed and slightly browned. Set aside and keep warm.
3) Meanwhile, make a tomato sauce by lightly frying a crushed garlic glove in a pan and adding the tomatoes along with some seasoning and a pinch of oregano.
4) Bring to the boil and leave to simmer for a few minutes, then add the sealed meatballs.
5) Cover and leave to simmer for about 45 minutes to one hour on a very low heat, stirring partway through.
6) Serve with spaghetti and parmesan.

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