Spaghetti and meatballs are a classic for a reason, and this recipe takes a classic to another level. It comes with my preschooler’s personal seal of approval!
Among all the stress-free meals that I make for my family, pasta rules the roost. What’s not to love about slurping down spaghetti that’s nicely coated with a gorgeous Marina sauce? Throw in some meatballs and have yourself a party in a plate! There’s no right or wrong way when it comes to pasta sauce. Most of us have our own tried and tested ways of making a good pasta sauce. Some swear by slow-cooking the tomatoes, some love a splash of wine or some stock. Anchovies, such as in a pasta Puttanesca, pack in a punch of flavor. But for a kid-approved, milder, yet flavorful sauce, I love this particular version, a take on the classic Marinara.
I’ve tasted many a limpid, average pasta sauce and after much tweaking, this one is my personal favorite way to let that spaghetti go take a toss in. I find the flavour of this sauce to be nicely full-bodied, which comes from the use of sun-dried tomatoes and onion, along with the herbs.Make a large batch of the sauce and store it in your fridge to whip up a quick meal when you are short on time. I usually make a large portion and have it over two meals in a week.
The meatballs, which I make with pork mince, can be put together in a pinch. These can also be prepared ahead and stored in the fridge, and then baked as you prepare the spaghetti. Once the meatballs and spaghetti are cooked, toss the spaghetti in the sauce, coating it well. Top the spaghetti with the meatballs, and sprinkle some of your favorite hard cheese over ceremoniously. A sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese always makes pasta night feel more gourmet!
For more kid-approved recipes take a look here.
- Spaghetti, cooked as per the packet instructions
- For the meatballs (this recipe is for approximately 18 meatballs):
- 300 grams pork mince
- ½ red onion finely chopped
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- ½ teaspoon chopped parsley (fresh or dried)
- ½ teaspoon salt to taste
- ⅓ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- For the Marinara-inspired Sauce:
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1 white onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¾ can of chopped tomato, blended to a puree in a blender
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon each of chopped parsley, basil and sage (dried or fresh)
- a pinch of nutmeg
- 4 olives (seeds removed), chopped
- 3-4 sun dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- To garnish:
- Grated Parmesan, or and hard cheese of your choice
- To make the sauce:
- In a saucepan, add the olive oil and heat the pan on medium heat. Add the garlic and chopped onion. Fry for a minute until the onion turns translucent.
- Add the pureed tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients to the pan. Stir it well and let the sauce simmer uncovered for 5-6 minutes on low heat.
- To make the meatballs:
- Combine the minced meat along with all the ingredients for the meatballs. Make small balls and transfer them to a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 180 C for 8 minutes.
- Once the sauce and meatballs are done, toss the spaghetti in the sauce, coating it well. Then serve the spaghetti with the meatballs, topped with a sprinkling of Parmesan.
The meatballs can also be prepped a day in advance, refrigerated and then baked just before the spaghetti is cooked. With a little planning, this meal comes together in around 5 minutes.
If you like this recipe, pic here for later: