My Mum arrived to spend a few days with us today - and it's a long journey for her - so a good hearty dinner, quick to make, was in order. I always have a big bag of meatballs in the freezer, so last night I took some out to defrost. My recipe for meatballs is here. The tomato sauce can be made in advance too, so I got that out of the way this morning and just reheated it at
suppertime. If I can, I always try to make a big batch like this, because it allows me to freeze a couple of portions for future meals. It's good with pasta, of course, but also consider it over plain grilled chicken or sausages. The herbs I use vary, but today (and most usually), it was a mixture of thyme, rosemary and oregano chopped together to fry with the onion, plus a couple of bay leaves simmered in the sauce.
1 large onion, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
fresh herbs (see above)
400g can chopped tomatoes
142g can tomato purée
Heat some olive oil in a large, deep pan and fry the onion, celery, carrot and herbs together until the vegetables are soft. Add the tinned tomatoes, then blend the tomato purée with 300ml water and pour this into the pan too. Pop in the bay leaves if you're using them, then bring to the boil. Turn the heat right down and stir in the milk. Gently simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, then remove any bay leaves. Cool the sauce quickly if you're cooking it in advance, then store it in labelled containers, in the fridge for a couple of days or for a month in the freezer .
I cooked the meatballs in a 200°c oven for about 15 minutes, putting the pasta (500g tagliatelle for 3 adults and 2 children) into a huge pan of boiling water halfway through that time. I added the cooked meatballs to the reheated sauce before draining the pasta and tossing it all together.
A little grated cheese on top was all we needed with it. I did put the bread on the table, but nobody wanted anything more than their dish of pasta (not even Chris, who is a right little bread face, so that's saying something).