Sunday, 6 January 2013

Pasta with Meatballs

My last meal of Being Twenty-Nine Years Old: a big classic in our family, but we all have slightly different ways of making it. My mum drops pure-mince meatballs into the tomato sauce, letting them cook through as the sauce thickens on the stove; I use fried or baked meatballs containing bread (I love the crispy crust!). My sister likes to stir the spinach into the sauce and scatter feta over the top; I prefer it to combine cooked, wilted spinach with ricotta and leave little quinelles throughout the bake. However, I think we can all agree that penne is exactly the right pasta for this dish, and that it tastes even better the next day. Although maybe not in my case, what with my taste buds suddenly going over the hill...

Here's my version.


  • 1kg of meatballs
  • 500g tomato sauce (or double, if you like it very tomato-y)
  • two large bunches of fresh spinach, wilted and chopped or 250g frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
  • 250g of ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 500g dried penne, cooked according to the packet instructions
  • 100g Cheddar or Parmesan, grated

Combine the spinach, cheese, nutmeg and salt together in a bowl. Stir the pasta with the tomato sauce and meatballs and pour into a large baking dish. Using two large tablespoons, take scoops of the ricotta/spinach mixture and push little quinelles into the dish. Scatter over the grated cheese and bake for 25 minutes at 180 C, until golden brown on top and piping hot throughout.

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