Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs


{Image source: Jeff Cushner, flickr}

So I'm a little eager today. I havent blogged for about a week, and now you're getting two posts in one day? What can I say, today is the kind of day when I can't work. When I'm cold, all I can think about is food. What can I do about that? I can blog, that's what!

So, last night was the Italy vs Paraguay game, and it hailed in Cape Town, about an hour before the game started, so that should give you an idea of how f%&^ing cold it was last night. I may have mentioned that I really don't deal well in the cold, so though the boy wanted to go out to eat, I voted we stay in. And my vote goes with the dog's vote, so we had a 2/3 majority, and won. Hehe. So now that we were staying home, what was I making for dinner? Something warm, something with mince (what?! I had it in the fridge!) and something a little out of the ordinary. I could've made spaghetti bolognaise, but we have that all the time, and I wanted something a little different.

And then I remembered that I spotted an interesting recipe in this month's issue of Pnp's Fresh Living Magazine, which had meatballs, and a poached egg cooked in the tomato sauce, which I thought I could give a go. And so, as usual, since I can't follow a recipe, I used it as a guideline, and went my own way! And here is my take on their recipe. Since, I mostly made it up as I went along, I'll give you the full recipe.

500g mince (they used lamb, I used beef, since it's what I had.)
Half an onion, finely diced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp Italian herbs
1 tsp Kara's Greek Herb Mix
1 tbsp chutney
1 tbsp tomato sauce

1 can tomato and onion mix, or chopped tomatoes
1 - 1.5 onions, diced
Half a yellow (or any other colour) bell pepper, diced
Half a head of broccoli, broken into small florets
2 tsp black olive tapenade
1 tsp garlic
1 can tomato paste OR 2 tbsp tomato sauce (I didn't have any tomato paste in the house)

2 eggs (or however many people you're serving)
Spaghetti, about half a packet


  1. Put all the meatball ingredients into a bowl and combine, being careful not to mix to much, as it makes the meat tough. Oh, and a word to the wise. I used extra lean beef mince, and the meatballs were a little dry. In future, I'd use a fattier mince for these. In meatballs, I've found, as in burgers, a little bit of fat helps a lot with the flavour, so use a mince that's a little fattier that usual, and be consoled by the fact that everything else is good for you!
  2. Form the mince into little bite-size balls (smaller than a golf ball), and set aside.
  3. Heat a little oil in a pan, and brown the meatballs. I discovered last night that shaking the pan around prevents them from sticking, and browns them nicely all over. When browned, set aside.
  4. Cook pasta according to packet instructions, drain, and set aside.
  5. In the same pan, fry the onions, garlic and bell pepper, until the onions are translucent and a little bit browned.
  6. Add in the tapenade, and fry a little more, adding the tomato paste and tomato and onion mix.
  7. Heat through, and return the meatballs to the tomato mix, making sure to cover each meatball to prevent them drying out. Cook covered at a low temperature for about 10 minutes.
  8. Take the broccoli florets, and spike them into the tomato mix, wherever you can find space. Cover again, and steam the broccoli for about 10 minutes, which will also cook the meatballs through.
  9. Now, remove the meatballs and broccoli, and set aside, covered.
  10. In the simmering tomato sauce, break the eggs carefully, cover and cook until the eggs are cooked to your desire. I like the white cooked through and the yolk runny, and ours took about 10 minutes to poach.
  11. Once cooked, remove the eggs, and put the meatballs and broccoli back into the sauce, and heat through.
  12. Serve the sauce over spaghetti, and pop the egg on top of it all. I thought it was most delicious with the yolk cut open, leaving all the silky egg in about the tomato sauce. YUM!
This has quite a few steps, but all in all I think it took about 40 minutes. I initially put in FAR too much onion - the original recipe called for a whole onion in the meatballs, and I did that. But I didn't chop them finely enough, and it was horrible, so while I was forming the balls, I had to pick a lot of the onion out. But the combination of the spicy meatballs, tomatoey sauce and silky poached egg was just divine on a freezing winters night.

Enjoy this one!

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  1. haha a mixture of Italian and Israeli food. Spaghetti meatballs meets shakshuka (which I blogged a recipe for :P )

  2. I am all over this!!! I'm such an egg slut...

    PS: Did the puppy at least also get some of the mince she "voted" for? ;-)

  3. :) @LadyRaven, I'm multicultural and I didn't even know it! And boy, this was divine!

    @Marisa She begged and BEGGED for some (she even jumped up on my seat, crawled around my shoulders and sat with her head right by mine!) But I was strong, and dog's aren't supposed to eat onions.. Poor thing, she was desperate though! Hehe. Maybe I should make an egg slut badge?

  4. I'm glad you won and you guys stayed in otherwise we would never have seen this deivine recipe....

    Egg slut badge...not a bad idea...we can have Twitter buzzing again with egg recipes!!!

  5. I was already planning to make spagbol tonight, except I'm going to be super-lazy and just squeeze out some pork sausages for the meat balls. However I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the idea of adding a poached egg (God I love eggs). Thanks for a fabulous idea!
    Let you know how it turns out.

  6. @ Koek What a brilliant idea! I think your 'lazy' version sounds delish! But I wouldn't squeeze them out, just fry them whole, and cut them into 1 inch chunks once cooked. Yum!


The only thing I love more than cooking and eating, is hearing from you, my lovely readers! So feel free to comment away, just keep it tidy!

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