From student life to raising a family on a tight budget, pasta dishes have to be something special to tickle my taste buds. This one was quick and easy to make, a comfort to eat, and for less than a fiver put on a smile at the checkout. I always recommend making your own meatballs, getting more for your money and the chance to experiment with flavours. This recipe feeds four as a snack or two as a main meal.
- 500g mince beef
- 1 crust of bread (or 1/4 cup of dried breadcrumbs)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- black pepper
- 200g dried pasta
- tomato and mascarpone pasta sauce jar (or whatever favour you have available)
- 1 broccoli head
- 200g grated cheddar
- Preparing the meatballs takes no time at all. They can even be made in advance and stored in the fridge or freezer. Add the mince beef to a large bowl and break down with your hands or a wooden spoon. If making your own breadcrumbs simply blend in a food processor or using a stick blender. To the meat add the parsley, basil, cumin and breadcrumbs. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper. Stir in the egg until thoroughly combined. If the mix is a little sticky add a few more breadcrumbs. Make into 18 meatballs and place on a baking tray.
- Preheat the oven to 200C°/Fan 180°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Add the pasta to a medium pyrex dish. Pour the sauce on the pasta. Fill the jar to the top of the label with water and add to the dish. Lightly combine and cover with foil. Place the pasta bake and the meatballs into the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the head of broccoli into florets and steam for 10 minutes. Then grate the cheese.
- Remove the pasta bake from the oven and take off the foil. Add the broccoli, cooked meatballs, and cheese. Place back inn the oven for 10 minutes.
- Serve on its own or with crusty bread and side salad.
Lip smacking delicious!