Wednesday 1 February 2012

Recipe - Meatballs and Spaghetti en papillote

Most people just goes for something quick and easy to throw together when it comes to dinner on a weekday. As you might have figured out now, I'm not most people. Or very normal for that matter.

The night I cooked this I started with two tubs, pork and beef, mince that needed using up and it all ended with a fairly involved dish. Don't let that turn you off though, it is well worth the effort - even if I say so myself.

Cooking en papillote is quite easy and can be varied to you hearts content. Personally I would probably mostly associate it with cooking fish. However, as I am showing you here it doesn't just have to be fish. I've also cooked chicken en papillote for example.

The meatballs I made are made the way I'd call typically Swedish. That means that they are made with a 50/50 blend of pork and beef mince. Other variations are of course also welcome. Heck, if you don't have the time, just use pre-made meatballs and a jar of shop bought tomato sauce.

Yes, I did just say that - you can use some pre-made stuff if you feel like it. Go for it, at least you assemble the dish in a slightly more interesting way than a nuked ready meal of meatballs and spaghetti. It could be a good start down the slippery road of cooking from scratch.

After that bombshell, let's have a look at the recipe.

Ingredients (made far too many meatballs but freeze the leftovers)
500g pork mince
500g beef mince
1 egg, beaten

Tomato sauce
500g Passata
1 onion, diced
Smoked paprika
Worcestershire Sauce
Brown sugar, optional

Olive oil

Spaghetti, cooked according to the instructions on the packaging

Parmesan cheese, grated

Fresh basil, torn

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Shape meatballs about 3cm or so in diameter. Heat the oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Fry the meatballs in batches, without crowding the pan, until nicely browned on all sides.

Tomato sauce
Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Let the onion sizzle away until it starts to soften but not gaining any colour.  Add in the passata, stir well and season to taste. Add sugar if you think it is a bit too tart .Let this simmer away until it has gained the thickness you desire.

Stir in the spaghetti and torn basil with the tomato sauce. Place spaghetti and sauce on pieces of parchment paper, top with meatballs and grated parmesan. Make a small bag out of the parchment paper and tie together with butcher's twine or use silicone rubberbands to close it together.

Place the parcels in a oven preheated to 180c. Let cook for about 15 - 20 minutes or until the parmesan have melted sufficiently.

Place the bags on heated plates and open at the table.


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// Mike