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June 16, 2012 / mintcustard

Spaghetti and meatballs – family movie night food

I can hear my mum’s voice ringing in my ears as I discuss menus with my children. Choice? you are giving them choices! To be fair to my children the choice is what to eat as a family not what each individual wants to eat. Mum’s mantra was, “I am NOT running a hotel, if you don’t like the food cook something else for yourself!” Thanks Mum, you made me the woman I am today. If Mum’s main courses had been half as magnificent as her puddings I’d be incompetent in the kitchen and probably thinner!

One family favourite is spaghetti and meatballs. None of this “I’ll just have plain pasta please” that I used to get sometimes from visiting friends of my girls when they were younger. Plain pasta! I just don’t get it. Not in my house. At least have a little olive oil and garlic for pities sake.
The weather is not conducive to long trips to the park as a family so why not have a quick run around and then come back for a a meal and watch a movie. Heck, why not combine the two, eat the food from the movie.

The Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Spaghetti and meatballs

“Aha, Okay. Hey, Joe! Butch-a he say he wants-a two spaghetti speciale, heavy on the meats-a ball.”

Stars twinkle, an Italian chef croons a love song in the background and love is definitely in the air. The star struck pair are fortunate to have been given the Chef’s table so favoured by A listers the world over. From here they can hear and see the chef chopping, slicing and almost certainly swearing at his kitchen brigade. Such is the depth of their love that they only have eyes for each other. This is why they probably ordered spaghetti and meatballs.

A more treacherous first date meal I cannot imagine. The trembling hand of a nervous lover can’t twiddle spaghetti with any dexterity let alone get it into the mouth without dripping sauce down their shirt front. Once in the mouth stray strands of spaghetti whip viciously sideways to give the eater the look of a scarred man. Spearing a meatball too is fraught with danger, get the trajectory wrong and they can hurtle unstoppably into your loved ones lap, leaving only a tomato coloured snail trail. Once captured they cannot be eaten whole, but this discovery is often only made once the meatball is in the mouth and a question has been asked of the eater. The least said about garlic breath the better. These lovers don’t care. They are so engrossed in each other that when they share the same spaghetti string and end up kissing, every one watching sighs and smiles.

mise en scene

500g lean mince (lamb or beef)
100g fresh breadcrumbs

100g finely grated cheddar cheese
1 egg beaten
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Oil for frying

sieved tomatoes (passata

fresh basil


Garlic, crushed)

It’s all in the edit.

  1. In a large bowl combine all the meatball ingredients together until well mixed.
  2. Using damp hands pinch off walnut sized pieces of mixture and roll to create ball shapes. Place to one side until all the meatballs are made.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan and add the meatballs to the pan. Do not move in the pan for five minutes otherwise your meatballs will disintegrate. Turn gently every few minutes until all the sides are browned.
  4. Once the meatballs are browned add in the crushed garlic and cook until just browning at the edges. Now add 300 ml of passata (you can push a can of tomatoes through a sieve if you are feeling either butch or masochistic but I wouldn’t bother) and enough stock to just come half way up your balls.
  5. Simmer gently for 20 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through.
  6. Read the pasta packet and put your pasta on so it is ready at the same time as your sauce.
  7. Serve with long spaghetti, freshly torn basil and freshly grated or shaved parmesan. Sharing this with a lover whist listening to some Italian accordion music could be the start of something beautiful.

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