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Melting-middle meatball bake


Serves: 6
timePrep time: 40 mins
timeTotal time:
Melting-middle meatball bake
Recipe photograph by Ant Duncan

Melting-middle meatball bake

Meatballs get a cheesy makeover with melting mozzarella middles in this comforting weekend pasta bake - perfect for a night-in with friends

Serves: 6
timePrep time: 40 mins
timeTotal time:

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Nutritional information (per serving)
Calories
693Kcal
Fat
38gr
Saturates
22gr
Carbs
53gr
Sugars
12gr
Fibre
3gr
Protein
33gr
Salt
0.8gr

Anna Glover

Anna Glover

Anna is our former Creative Food Editor, and a cookery writer and food stylist. She loves a challenge and is known for whipping up interesting flavour combinations. She’s still in search of the best pizza in the world 
See more of Anna Glover’s recipes
Anna Glover

Anna Glover

Anna is our former Creative Food Editor, and a cookery writer and food stylist. She loves a challenge and is known for whipping up interesting flavour combinations. She’s still in search of the best pizza in the world 
See more of Anna Glover’s recipes

Ingredients

  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 350g penne or rigatoni
For the tomato sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 x 500g packs passata
  • ½-1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • ½-1 tsp sugar (any kind)
  • 1 x 250g tub mascarpone
For the meatballs
  • 250g 5% fat pork mince
  • 250g 5% fat beef mince
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • ½ x 400g block mozzarella, cut into 1cm cubes

Step by step

Get ahead
Make the tomato sauce the day before, assemble the meatballs and chill.
  1. To make the sauce, heat 1⁄2 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan and fry the garlic for 30 seconds, then add the passata with some seasoning. Simmer for 30-40 minutes uncovered (it may splutter) on a medium-low heat until thickened.
  2. Meanwhile, put both types of mince into a large bowl. Add the fennel seeds, garlic, chilli flakes and plenty of seasoning. Mix well with your hands. Roll the mixture into 16 ping pong-sized meatballs, hiding a cube of mozzarella in the middle of each ball. You’ll use about half the mozzarella cubes.
  3. Heat ½ tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan and fry the meatballs until golden brown, then transfer to a plate. You may need to do this in batches, using the remaining oil.
  4. Heat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the pasta for 8-10 minutes until just tender when pressed, then drain well. Tip the pasta back in the pan.
  5. Stir the vinegar, sugar and mascarpone into the tomato sauce, and simmer until just bubbling, then remove from the heat. Taste to check the flavour balance.
  6. Add the browned meatballs to the pasta pan along with the sauce, and fold in. Season well.
  7. Tip into an ovenproof baking dish measuring around 30cm x 20cm, and scatter over the remaining mozzarella cubes. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden and bubbling. Serve with a sharply dressed green salad.
    Tip
    Make double quantities of the meatballs and sauce (leaving out the mascarpone) and freeze half to serve with spaghetti.

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