For the meatballs:
- Make the meatballs first. Put the meat in a large bowl, break it up with a fork. Add egg, herbs, chilli if using and flour, mix well.
- Take some meat mixture the size of a tennis ball, roll gently, (put some oil on your hands as can be sticky), and make 16 meatballs.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium high heat and fry 8 at a time, until brown on all sides; remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper. Set aside.
For the sauce:
- For the sauce, fry the bacon in the oil from the meatballs, add onions and garlic, stirring well to prevent burning. Add carrots and peppers, and cook until soft. Stir in the purée, basil, tin tomatoes and stock made with 125ml of boiling water; season with black pepper. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the meatballs, bring back to the boil then cover and simmer for a further 10 minutes, or until the meatballs are no longer pink in the centre.
- Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil and add the pasta. Cook according to the instructions on the packet or until al dente. Drain.
- Serve the meatballs over cooked pasta, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if using and bread rolls to mop up the juices.
If there are leftovers, you can add a jar of shop bought ragú, mix in some pasta, a bit more torn up fresh basil, mix with some strong mature grated Cheddar, place in a large rectangular dish, sprinkle over some more cheese, bake at 200 C / 180 C fan / Gas 6 for about 25 minutes until golden brown.
Versatile easy bread rolls
Best served with my recipe for Versatile easy bread rolls.
Instead of doing all beef mince, you can do a mixture of minced beef and minced pork.