Just like mamma used to make… only a little bit different.
Chef Theo Randall loves a classic dish, but can’t resist tweaking things a little bit to spice up midweek dinners.
Theo is working with Sainsbury’s on the Little Twists campaign, championing everyday food and inspiring the nation to spice up midweek meals using simple store cupboard ingredients.
POLPETTE DI MANZO
A great way to eat meatballs – the bread in the bottom of the pan becomes crispy and chewy which works really well with the melted mozzarella.
SERVES 4 (makes 16 small meatballs)
Ingredients for the meatballs:
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 500g of lean minced beef
- Half cup of breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp of chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 whole medium-size egg (beaten) Black pepper and sea salt
For the sauce:
- Extra virgin olive oil, for frying
- 1 clove of garlic (finely sliced)
- 1 small onion (finely sliced)
- 2 red peppers (finely sliced)
- 75 ml of red wine
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 6 leaves of fresh basil
- 1 dry baguette – cut into 2cm slices
- 1 x 100g ball of mozzarella (cut roughly into 1 cm pieces)
- sprinkle of grated Parmesan
- 1 bag of crisp green salad (about 200g)
1. Make the meatballs: in a large bowl add all the ingredients and mix together with your hands so everything is combined. Wash your hands, then form 16 small meatballs into walnut-size balls, rubbing your palms together in a circling motion to form tight little balls. Place them on a tray and leave to one side.
2. To make the sauce: in a frying pan heat 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the garlic, onion and red pepper. Cook gently for 10 mins, until the peppers are soft. Add the red wine and reduce by half then add the tomatoes. Reduce by half again, season to taste and add the basil. Leave to one side.
3. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. In a large oven-proof frying pan heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and start gently sealing off the meatballs so they have a little colour on the outside but are still rare in the middle. When you have sealed all of them, put them on a clean plate but keep the pan on the stove and lay the slices of dry bread in the bottom of the pan so they go slightly crispy.
4. Move the meatballs from the plate and place on top of the bread. Spoon over the tomato and pepper sauce. Scatter over the chopped mozzarella. Add a good sprinkle of grated Parmesan. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 mins.
5. Serve with a crisp green salad.
PENNE WITH SAUSAGE AND PORCINI SAUCE
I always use penne rigate for this sauce as it has ridges (‘rigate’ in Italian) that hold the sauce really well.
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 2 tbsp of finely chopped onion
- 250g of Italian sausages
- 20g dried porcini mushrooms (soaked in water)
- 1 x tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp of chopped rosemary
- 2 tbsp of double cream
- 300g penne rigate Parmesan and black pepper to serve
1. In a large heavy-based frying pan, add the olive oil and the onion, cook for a couple of minutes then take the sausages, make a small nick in each and squeeze out the meat from the skin and add to the cooking onions. Break the sausage meat into small pieces and cook for 10 mins so the meat has a little colour.
2. Add the drained porcini mushrooms and cook for a couple of minutes. Then add tomatoes and cook for a further 10 mins or until the tomatoes have reduced by half. Add the rosemary and the double cream.
3. Cook the penne rigate for 2 minutes less than the packet says and add to the sauce with 4-5 tbsp of the water that the pasta has been cooked in. This way the pasta will absorb the flavour of the sauce and the starch from the pasta water will thicken the sauce so it holds to the penne.
4. Toss well and serve with grated Parmesan and black pepper.