Annabel’s Mighty Meatball Pasta Bake is the perfect ‘smiles all-round’ supper for the whole family (even the fussiest of family members will agree!) The secret ingredient? Annabel adds grated apple to the meatballs to give a natural sweetness kids will love. Plus, it’s a great way towards their 5-a-day!
- 1 apple
- 10g basil
- 1 brown onion
- 40g cheddar cheese
- 1 garlic clove
- 40g Italian hard cheese
- 250g beef mince
- 30g panko breadcrumbs
- 45g sundried tomato pesto
- 5g thyme
- 400g chopped tomatoes
- 150g tricolore pasta twists
Preheat the oven to 220°C/ 200°C (fan)/ 425°F/ Gas 7. Peel and grate the apple, discarding the cores. Strip the thyme leaves from their stems and chop them finely. Grate the Italian hard cheese
Add the grated apple, chopped thyme leaves, grated cheese, panko breadcrumbs and beef mince to a large bowl with a generous pinch of salt and mix very thoroughly until fully combined.Divide the mixture into 12 and shape them into meatballs
Heat a large, wide-based pan (preferably non-stick) with a matching lid with a drizzle of vegetable oil over a medium-low heat. Once hot, add the meatballs and cook for 3-4 min or until browned on all sides. Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the onion. Peel and finely chop (or grate) the garlic.
Once browned, transfer the meatballs to a plate and set aside until later. Return the pan to a medium heat. Once hot, add the chopped onion with a pinch of salt and cook for 5 min or until softened. Once softened, add the chopped garlic and cook for 1 min further
Meanwhile, boil a kettle. Add the tricolore pasta twists to a pot of boiled water with a large pinch of salt and bring to the boil over a high heat. Cook the pasta twists for 8-10 min or until cooked with a slight bite. Once cooked, drain the pasta twists, reserving a cup of the starchy pasta water.
Once the onion has softened, add the chopped tomatoes, sun-dried tomato pesto and a generous pinch of sugar to the pan. Season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper and add the browned meatballs. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 10-12 min or until the sauce has thickened and the meatballs are cooked through
Meanwhile, chop the basil finely, including the stalks
Grate the cheddar cheese. Once the meatballs are done, add the chopped basil, drained pasta twists and a splash of the starchy pasta water to the pan. Give everything a good old mix up, then transfer the mixture to an ovenproof dish. Top with the grated cheese
Put the dish in the oven for 5-10 min or until the cheese has melted. Serve the mighty meatball pasta bake and Enjoy!