Pasta and meatballs always, for me at least, conjures up the picture from Lady and the Tramp where they are sharing a romantic moment over a plate of pasta. I prefer to enjoy mine from the comfort of my sofa than in a back alley behind a restaurant surrounded by stinky bins but that may just be me ignoring the sheer romanticism of the moment! For me pasta never seems like a particularly romantic meal – possibly because whenever I have it, I seem to end up with half of it down my front – and that’s neither romantic or attractive is it?
I always find that marinara recipes I have tried in the past have a tendency to come out quite sharp and acidic so I wanted to have a go at making my own sweet and fragrant tomato sauce. I think I’ve come up with a great recipe here using just simple store cupboard ingredients.
I think there must be as many recipes and methods of making meatballs as there are recipes for marinara sauce – it’s a bit of a culinary minefield to explore. Personally, having tried both beef and pork and a mixture of both, although they’re all good we found a clear favourite in entirely pork meatballs.
Like with a good burger, with meatballs less is more. I’ve kept mine simple and resisted the urge to add a bit of everything in the kitchen to them, sticking with just a bit of wholegrain mustard, rosemary and oregano and of course good old black pepper and salt. The mozzarella in the middle was a last-minute addition but it’s gooooood! I don’t know why but it adds a little je ne sais quoi (or however that translates in Italian).
Now don’t laugh at me but as you can see from the pictures, for some reason I am absolutely incapable of making ROUND meatballs. I don’t know why but try as I might, no matter how careful and gentle I am with them, they always come out this weird kind of hockey puck shape! I can attribute a lot of my kitchen mishaps to my balance issues but in this case, I really can’t see how that would be the problem. Anyway after several tries, I gave up and bought a meat baller For those as cack-handed as me, it’s kind of like an ice cream scoop that allows you to make perfectly round meatballs and is an absolute life saver – woo-hoo!!
So let me know what you thought via the comments or by using the Contact Me form on the site – I love hearing from you! Also please feel free to make me really jealous by tagging me in your social media posts showing your perfectly round meatballs! Enjoy DDx.
Melting Mozzarella Meatball Pasta
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
For the meatballs
- 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 2 sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped
- 500 g pork mince
- 1 teaspoon mustard (I used wholegrain)
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 60 g mozzarella, cut into small cubes
- 1 egg
For the sauce
- olive oil
- A few fresh basil leaves
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or minced
- 2 400 g tins of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 400 g linguine (or spaghetti if you prefer)
- Put the pork mince, mustard and oregano in a mixing bowl.
- Add the egg, breadcrumbs and some salt and pepper to season.
- Use your hands to mix – scrunching everything together until combined. Form into meatballs – you should get about 12 out of this mix. Push a cube of mozzarella into the ball and wrap the meat back around it so it is sealed in.
- Drizzle a little olive oil onto a plate and then put the meatballs on it. Swizzle the plate around to give them a light coat of oil. Put the plate in the fridge to chill the meatballs which will firm them up before cooking.
- Drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan and put it on a medium heat, add the onion and cook until softened and lightly golden.
- Add the garlic and fry until it starts to take colour. Add the tomatoes, half a can of cold water, the basil leaves and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to bring the sauce up to the boil and then reduce the heat down and simmer gently for 15 minutes until reduced down.
- Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of oil in another large frying pan over a medium heat, add the meatballs. Cook, turning regularly until cooked through.
- Add the cooked meatballs into the sauce and leave to simmer gently while you cook the pasta.
- Cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to the packet instructions, then drain keeping back a ladle of the starchy cooking water.
- Add the drained pasta to the sauce and mix with tongs or a spatula until the pasta is coated.
- Serve, with a bit of grated Parmesan or cheddar if you like.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes