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Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs

3 Year old Eva’s favourite dinner is meatballs. She loves eating them as well as making them. Homemade Meatballs & Spaghetti is a great way to get little ones involved in the cooking process and they get their hands all messy too, which is always good.

If you want to save on mess and time, you can always prepare the meatball mix yourself and let the kids mould a few meatballs themselves at the end.

Serves 4-6.

You will need:

For the meatballs:

2 tbsp olive oil
150g or one medium sized onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped
Approx 1kg of freshly minced beef (aim for 12% fat if you can, or be sure to drain the fat once the meatballs have been cooking for a few minutes)
2 tbsp freshly chopped herbs, such as marjoram, or 1 tbsp rosemary; mixed dried herbs will also do fine
1 egg, beaten
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce etc:

3 tbsp olive oil
150g or one medium sized onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed and chopped
150g fresh parmesan or pecarino, grated (most supermarkets have good sized chunks of these cheeses available for £1 or so on the deli counter and they keep for a week or so after opening)
1 tsp sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 x 400g cans tomatoes
1 x small can of sweetcorn
1 liberal squirt of tomato puree

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy stainless steel saucepan over a gentle heat and add the onion and garlic. Cover and sweat for four minutes, until soft and a little golden. Turn off the heat and let is cool down off the hob for a few minutes.

In a bowl, mix the minced beef with the cooked onion and garlic. Add your herbs and beaten egg. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide the mixture into approximately 16-20 round balls. At this point you can cover the meatballs and refrigerate until later if you want.

Now for the sauce, heat the oil in a stainless steel saucepan and add your meatballs, the sliced onion and the crushed garlic and cook on a gentle heat until the onions and garlic and soft and golden yellow and your meatballs area nice brown colour.

Add the canned tomatoes (including all the juice) and sweetcorn to the onion mixture, and season everything with the sugar, salt and pepper.

Cook everything together for approx 30 minutes on a low heat. 10 minutes before the end, you can cook some spaghetti or rice to accompany the meatballs.

Serve the meatballs and spaghetti or rice and garnish with the parmesan or pecarino.

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