Thyme, Rosemary and Parmesan Meatballs with Pasta and Tomato Sugo

by eat in my kitchen

Thyme Meatballs with Pasta and Tomato Sugo

This is the essence of Italian food for me, a huge plate full of warm pasta with tiny meat balls, fruity tomato sugo and fresh thyme and rosemary. A glass of the deepest red wine, Caruso on the vinyl player and the world is as perfect as it can possible be!

I first learned to enjoy burgers through my Maltese/ American partner, he introduced these rather well sized portions of meat to my cooking. In the past, I only used to shape little balls of minced beef, lamb or pork in my kitchen, that’s how I learned it from my mother and I followed her recipe for years. She mixes the meat with eggs and breadcrumbs for a fluffy texture and lots of fresh herbs from her garden before she gives them a small round shape. In general, she’s not a big fan of huge portions on her plate so the dimensions of a proper burger didn’t really appeal to her. This only changed in the past few years, now she tells me with excitement about rustic burger nights in her kitchen!

I can’t even say which size I prefer, sometimes my appetite calls for a massive burger, preferably pure minced steak stuffed between a bun with some greens and thin tomato slices. Small meatballs are a delicious (and addictive) snack, warm and cold. They are perfect nibbles for a brunch or casual cocktail party, and absolutely tempting when it comes to pasta. Cook them in an aromatic tomato sugo, or with lots of onions and white wine, and you’ll have the most comforting dish on your plate. Their size should always be small enough to fit on a fork with a bit of sugo on top, heavenly! And here my mother’s recipe comes in again, I mixed the minced meat with lots of fresh thyme, rosemary and garlic to give it a rich Mediterranean touch. And not to forget grated parmesan, 3 heaped tablespoons melted into the tiny balls added the cheese’s wonderful aroma to the meat. For the sugo, I used tinned tomatoes, full of summery flavour and sweetness, at this point the fresh ones aren’t an option yet. I added some red wine, Balsamico vinegar, a tiny bit of fresh orange juice and chopped rosemary to end up with a concentrated red sauce full of beautiful flavours. It looked stunning and tasted just as good.

Thyme Meatballs with Pasta and Tomato Sugo

 

Thyme Meatballs with Pasta and Tomato Sugo

 Thyme, Rosemary and Parmesan Meatballs with Pasta and Tomato Sugo

For 3-4 people you need

spaghetti 300g / 10 1/2 ounces

For the meatballs

minced beef 500g / 1 pound
organic egg 1
breadcrumbs 40g / 1 1/2 ounces
medium sized onion, finely chopped 1
garlic, crushed, 2 big cloves
fresh thyme leaves 2 tablespoons
fresh rosemary, finely chopped, 1 teaspoon
freshly grated parmesan 3 heaped tablespoons
salt 1 1/2 teaspoons
pepper
olive oil, for frying
butter 2 tablespoons, for frying

For the tomato sugo

red wine 75ml/ 2 1/2 ounces
fresh thyme 1 small sprig
quality tinned tomatoes 600g / 1 1/4 pounds
Balsamico vinegar 1 1/2 tablespoons, to taste
freshly squeezed orange juice 1 1/2 tablespoons, to taste
fresh rosemary, finely chopped, 1 1/2 teaspoons
salt and pepper

Cook the pasta in lots of salted water al dente.

Mix the ingredients for the meatballs with your hands or an electric mixer until well combined. Wet your hands and form walnut sized meatballs. In a large pan, heat a generous splash of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter and fry the meatballs for about 6 minutes on medium heat, turning them so that they can brown evenly. Take the meatballs out and set them aside, cover them with a lid. Put the pan back on the heat and deglaze with the red wine, add the thyme sprig and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the tinned tomatoes, chop them and add the Balsamico vinegar, orange juice, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes (bubbling) or until it starts to thicken and season with salt, pepper, orange juice and vinegar to taste. Add the meatballs to the sugo and cook for another minute on low heat. Serve with the spaghetti in warm plates.

Thyme Meatballs with Pasta and Tomato Sugo

 

Thyme Meatballs with Pasta and Tomato Sugo

 

Thyme Meatballs with Pasta and Tomato Sugo

 

Thyme Meatballs with Pasta and Tomato Sugo