Not just another beef meatball and spaghetti.
What could possibly be better than sitting in front of the TV with a big bowl of meatballs and spaghetti on a lazy weeknight? Not a lot. But why serve the spaghetti with bite-sized meatballs when you can have one big G-I-A-N-T delicious meatball for that ultimate indulgence? Because side DOES matter. Here I present you a giant beef meatball the size of a baseball stuffed with a cheesy centre, then served on a bed of slippery spaghetti with spicy marinara sauce.
This amazing recipe is loved by kids of all ages. It is a show stopper at any dinner party and definitely the talk of the town for many days to come. These giant cheesy meatballs made with delicious beef not only deliver the wow factor, they are absolutely scrumptious packed with flavours. Nothing compares to flavour when making meatballs with beef. Not to mention it is super easy to make too. It takes no longer than an hour to prepare.
First thing first, to make the meatball, I used about 200 grams of lean beef mince per meatball and it worked out to be the perfect individual portion size. So everyone gets one and no fighting. Each meatball is then stuffed with a bocconcini cheese inside. Of course you can replace bocconcini with other melty cheeses like mozzarella or cheddar. There is one crucial point when making the meatballs. First you have to make sure the mince is well mixed by hands until it is sticky and pasty so that the cheese is sealed inside firmly. Otherwise the meatball will split and the cheese will ooze out during cooking and you do not want that.
Secondly, the marinara sauce. It is very important to take your time and make a good marinara sauce for this dish, it can be make or break. Marinara sauce is just a simple tomato-based sauce that is widely used in many Italian dishes like pasta, parmigiana and even pizza. There are many variations of this sauce and I particularly like it with a little bit of chilli kick. It is important to make the sauce with the right consistency, not too thick or too watery. It should be thick enough to coat the pasta and the meatballs.
Whether you are making this dish for dinner parties or just a weeknight meal, it is comfort food at its best.
Giant cheesy beef meatball & spaghetti
Cooking time – 40 minutes
800g lean beef mince
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning mix
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 bocconcini balls (or mozzarella)
2 tablespoons olive oil, for cooking
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
140g tomato paste
2 (400g) cans crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
1 cup of water
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 packet (500g) spaghetti
Parmesan cheese, for serving
3 – 4 Parsley leaves, fine chopped
To make the meatballs, combine all the meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl except the bocconcini and olive oil. Mix everything together with your hands until the beef mince mixture is well combined and sticky. Divide mixture into four equal portions, 200 grams each. Roll them up into meatballs. Use your thumb and make a deep dent into the center of each meatball. Fill each hole with a bocconcini, pinch the mince together to seal the cheese inside then roll it back into a giant meatball.
Heat oven to 150ºC. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add meatballs to the pan in batches, gently roll them around in the pan occasionally, cook for 5 minutes or until browned on all sides. Place meatballs on a tray lined with baking paper and transfer to the oven while you prepare the sauce.
In the same pan, wipe clean and heat another tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, sauté for 3 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent. Add tomato paste, keep stirring and cook for 1 minute. Add crushed tomatoes, chilli flakes, bay leaves, thyme leaves and water, season with salt and pepper and stir well. Turn the heat to medium, take meatballs out of the oven and add them to the sauce, stir gently until all meatballs are nicely coated in the sauce. Cover the pan slightly with a lid to avoid splatters and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the sauce thickens.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add spaghetti to the water, turn the heat to medium-high and cook for 8 -10 minutes, until al dente. Drain pasta through a colander, shake off any excess water and put the pasta back in the same pot. Add a cup of the marinara sauce to the pasta and stir well.
To serve, dish the spaghetti and place each meatball on top. Ladle extra marinara sauce over the meatball and pasta, sprinkle with parsley and grate parmesan over the meatball. Serve immediately.