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Pork meatballs and spaghetti

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Adjust Servings:
500g pork mince (5% fat)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 x 30g pack fresh basil leaves, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 Weetabix, crushed
2 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
1 large free-range egg, beaten
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large white onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1 dried bay leaf
300ml stock, made with 1 beef or Kallo yeast-free stock cube
1 green pepper, deseeded and finely diced
400g dried spaghetti
Parmesan cheese

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Pork meatballs and spaghetti

If you're going to master any recipe, spaghetti and meatballs has got to be near the top of the list. Shop-bought versions never quite cut it and are often high in saturates and sugar. My healthy version is overloaded with hidden vegetables and a few surprising ingredients which make the meatballs and accompanying sauce yeast-free.

    • 60+ Mins
    • Serves 4
    • Easy




    • TO SERVE


    1. To make the meatballs, combine the pork mince in a bowl with the crushed garlic, basil, smoked paprika, Weetabix and parmesan and mix well. Stir in the beaten egg and use your hands to bind the mixture together.

    2. Roll the pork mince into 20 equal-sized balls and lay on a baking tray. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up.

    3. To make the bolognese sauce, heat half the olive oil in a large saucepan or crockpot and sauté the red onion and carrot gently for 10-15 minutes until softened and starting to colour.

    4. Stir in the garlic, celery salt, fennels seeds, smoked paprika and tomato purée and cook for 1 minute more.

    5. Tip in the chopped tomatoes, sugar, oregano and bay leaves. Wash the tomato cans out with the beef stock and add the liquid to the pan.

    6. Bring the sauce to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and leave to blip away gently over a low heat for 25-30 minutes or until thick and rich. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

    7. Heat a large pan of salted boiling water and cook the spaghetti according to pack instructions.

    8. Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat.

    9. Once hot, fry the pork meatballs on all sides until nicely coloured (you may need to do this in batches). Transfer to the bolognese sauce with the green pepper and continue to simmer until the meatballs are cooked through. To check if they’re cooked, cut one open – there should be no pink bits.

    10. Drain the spaghetti if necessary, reserving a ladleful or two of pasta water.

    11. Toss the spaghetti through the bolognese sauce, adding a little of the reserved cooking water to loosen if needed.

    12. Divide the spaghetti and meatballs between bowls and garnish with basil leaves and parmesan shavings before serving.

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