These meatballs are one of the first answers I get from my kids to the ‘What do you want for dinner tonight?’ question. I don’t mind one bit because they are full of vegetables (the ‘hidden gem’). My kids had no idea for a long time – of course, now that they love them so much, it’s far too late to complain about the vegetables!
- olive oil 3 tbsp
- onion 1, coarsely grated (see note)
- garlic 2 cloves, crushed or finely chopped
- medium carrots 2, peeled and finely grated
- courgettes 2, about 250 g (9 oz) in total, finely grated
- finely chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley 2 tbsp
- wholegrain mustard 1 tsp
- lean minced (ground) beef 600g
- panko breadcrumbs 75g
- egg 1, lightly beaten
- tomato passata (puréed tomatoes) 700ml
- spaghetti or other pasta shape 350g
- finely grated parmesan or tasty cheese 50g
- coarsely torn basil leaves (optional) 2 tbsp
These meatballs can also be baked. Once they’ve had their initial browning, transfer them to an ovenproof dish. Spoon over the sauce and turn to coat, then scatter over the cheese and bake in a 190°C (375°F) oven/170°C (340°F) fan-forced for about 15 minutes.