Spicy Meatballs in Sauce on ‘Squashetti’
These spiced meatballs are a great dish for sharing. I’ve used squash here to make a sort of ‘spaghetti’, but good old courgetti, or indeed pasta, are lovely alternatives. The meatballs and sauce can easily be made ahead of time then just warmed up and served with squashetti when you’re ready to eat. If you are not feeding a large table, freeze the cooked meatballs and sauce into portions. I often make a double portion of sauce and freeze half anyway – it’s so delicious that I can use it in a host of other dishes, for instance to top a fluffy vegetable mash.
If you’re making this for children, I would probably serve it with brown pasta (or red lentil pasta) rather than squashetti, and omit the salt and chilli from the meatballs.
For the Meatballs:
- 900g beef or lamb mince, ideally organic or grass-fed
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp hot paprika
- 1 ½ tsp salt flakes
- A generous grind of black pepper
Mix all the ingredients together, wet your hands and form into small balls about 3cm wide/30g each. Leave to chill for one hour or more in the fridge.
For the sauce:
- 1½ tbsp mild coconut or olive oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Zest of half a lemon, use a peeler to make 2 – 3 big strips
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp chilli powder, or cayenne pepper
- 2 x 400g tin of cherry tomatoes
- 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 large bunch of parsley (50g), chopped
- Squash, peeled and cut into large chunks for spiralising (1 squash makes enough noodles for 4 – 5 portions)
STEP BY STEP
In a large heavy saucepan heat the oil and gently sauté the onion, garlic, cinnamon stick and lemon zest for 10 minutes until soft and sweet. Add the garlic, oregano, nutmeg and chili powder and cook for 1-2 minutes, before adding the tomatoes and chickpeas. Bring to the boil then turn down the heat, to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, warm the olive or coconut oil in a wide frying pan. Brown the meatballs well on all sides, then drop into the tomato sauce, stir gently to combine then allow them to simmer together for 20-25 minutes. Once cooked, remove the cinnamon stick and lemon rind, then stir through the chopped parsley.
While the sauce is cooking, blanch the squash noodles for 1-2 minutes in boiling water, drain well and toss with the sauce and meatballs to serve.
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