Thursday, September 29, 2011

Summer Meatballs with Heirloom Tomato Sauce & Fresh Pasta

Considering the name of this dish, I'm definitely a little late with posting this recipe but I just had to include it! Admittedly I did mean to add it earlier (particularly before my Goodbye Summer post) but I had so many recipes to share and to be honest had been hoping that Summer was going to last a little longer than it did! Cest' la vie, but I thought this recipe still had to be included so I'm making it for those of you that are still basking in the sun (especially those of you in the UK enjoying a fantastic Indian Summer!). And for those of us that aren't this is still delicious, regardless of the season!

This isn't really a mid-week meal as it does take a bit of time but I think it makes a fantastic casual meal to have with friends at the weekend. Serve it with a nice big salad, some bread if you fancy and of course a glass or two of wine!

{This looks like quite a time consuming meal but really it's just the pasta that takes a bit of time – both the sauce and meatballs are straightforward. That being said for a fast and easier version, miss out making the pasta – especially if you don't have a pasta maker – and buy some good quality fresh pasta instead.}

Serves 4

400g flour
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt

Heirloom Tomato Sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1.5kg heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped {or normal vine tomatoes if heirlooms aren't available}
1 tsp sugar
100ml white wine (or chicken or vegetable stock)
Salt and pepper

500g sausages
1 fat clove of garlic, crushed
Zest of 1 lemon
leaves from a sprig of thyme
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
Pinch of salt & pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

To serve:
Extra virgin olive oil
Handful of fresh basil leaves
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Pre-heat the oven to 350F/ 180C.

Start by making the pasta by following these instructions for my fresh pasta up the point where you put the pasta dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.

While the pasta is in the fridge make the tomato sauce. In a large oven-proof pan heat the oil then gently sauté the onion for 5 minutes until it has started to soften without colouring. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute before adding the tomatoes, sugar, wine, salt and pepper. Leave to simmer gently while you make the meatballs.

To make the meatballs remove the sausage meat from its casing by squeezing into a bowl. Add the crushed garlic, lemon zest, thyme leaves, parsley a little salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Using your hands mix everything together then shape into small balls and set aside on a large plate or baking sheet. Chill until needed.

To make the pasta unwrap the dough then cut it into 4 pieces so that you have manageable pieces to work with. Sprinkle some flour onto your work surface and rolling pin then give the dough another quick knead before rolling it out slightly. You can either use a rolling pin to roll it out completely, or a pasta maker. If using a pasta maker follow the instructions given, until you have perfect sheets of pasta.

Once the pasta has been rolled out to your desired thickness you can then shape or cut it and use as needed. If I am making spaghetti or linguine (as I did here), once I have cut it with my pasta maker I lay it flat on a large tray or baking sheet lined with kitchen paper and dusted with flour. This allows the pasta to dry out slightly without sticking together. Alternatively though you can make little 'nests' of pasta, just make sure it is well floured so you don't end up with one big clump of pasta!

When you are ready to cook the meatballs heat the oil in a frying pan and gently brown the meatballs over a medium heat until they are nicely browned all over.

Taste the sauce to check the seasoning then remove roughly two thirds of the sauce and keep warm in a small pan. Put the browned meatballs on top of the sauce in a single layer and cook for 25 – 30 minutes in the oven until golden brown and bubbling.

While the meatballs are cooking bring a large pan of salted water to a rapid boil then gently drop in the pasta. Cook for no more than 3-4 minutes, drain then return to the pan. Toss the pasta sauce through the pasta then put it all onto a large serving dish and drizzle with a good amount of extra virgin olive oil. Top with the meatballs and remaining sauce, an extra drizzle of oil, some freshly grated parmesan and finally a scattering of basil leaves. Take the plate to the table then let everyone dive in and devour!


  1. This dish looks absolutely delicious. I love meatballs and this is going on the list to cook very soon. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Wow this looks so delicious, gorgeous picture! :)

  3. Thanks Jess & Kelly - it is really straightforward and so tasty - worth any effort required! : )

  4. Looks great! Its only 8am and I feel like eating this now lol!

  5. We are still having a few temps in the 80s so I think reading this as a summer recipe still works (especially if I can ignore the sound of acorns falling on my roof).

    I wish, wish, wish I had a pasta maker and am very jealous of how gorgeous yours is.

    The sausage meatballs are something our daughter would adore so I think I need to add this to the to-make list! Thanks for sharing.

  6. oh I wish I can have this for lunch right now! This looks delicious. My stomach is grumbling lol :)

  7. Hi Lindsey,
    Thanks for visiting my blog earlier this week. I'm glad I found yours, you have some great recipes here, especially this pasta recipe, looks amazing.

  8. Thanks everyone - this is definitely my kind of food as well. Can't beat pasta, especially homemade fresh pasta!

    Mom Chef - thank you! I have to admit I still love my pasta maker....I actually got it from Italy so it makes it even more special to me (especially since I had to get it home!!)

    Jo - My pleasure! Im so delighted to have found your blog, it is beautiful and full of delicious looking recipes! Can't wait to read more : )


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