Put your slow cooker to work and whip up these tasty parmesan meatballs. Served on a bed of al dente pasta, this hearty winter warmer is sure to please.
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Versatile, budget-friendly and super tasty, meatballs are one of the most prepared – and eaten – dishes around the world. Whether they’re traditional Italian meatballs in tomato, served with spaghetti, in a tray bake or with a variety of sides, meatballs are a staple in many family dinners, picnics, lunches and bring-a-plate get-togethers. Italian meatballs, or ‘polpette’, are served in tomato sauce and are the stars of the classic Italian-spaghetti- and-meatballs dish. Our recipe puts a unique spin on this favourite by cooking the meatballs and pasta in a slow cooker, making the cheesy, saucy dish even easier to prepare. Simply brown the meatballs and place them with the rest of the ingredients in the slow cooker around midday and by dinnertime, you’re ready to serve up.
Good-quality beef mince and parmesan are the key ingredients for the parmesan meatballs. Finely grated parmesan is easier to scatter over the mince, ensuring each meatball is packed with flavour. To combine all of the ingredients together, you’ll need 1 egg and some panko breadcrumbs, which are larger than regular breadcrumbs, making them work really well to bind the mince and other ingredients together. Garlic and onion are also super important for flavour, and no Italian meatball is complete without a sprinkling of oregano.
The classic tomato sauce calls for two 400g cans of diced tomatoes, and a jar of passata to thicken and level-up the tomato flavours. Red wine or beef stock adds to the richness of the sauce, while red wine vinegar adds a welcome tanginess. You’ll also need some onion, garlic and chopped oregano, and 320g of spaghetti that’s broken into large pieces.
Firstly, prepare the meatballs. Place 500g mince, ½ cup (35g) panko breadcrumbs, ½ cup (40g) finely grated parmesan, ½ onion that’s finely chopped, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1 egg and 2 tbs finely chopped oregano in a large bowl and season. Mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Use your hands to mix so you can feel when the ingredients are all combined. Roll 1-tbs portions of the mince mixture into balls and set them aside while you prepare the sauce. Place the diced tomatoes, passata, 1 cup (250ml) red wine or beef stock, ½ onion that’s finely chopped and 1 tbs of finely chopped oregano in the slow cooker on high. Brown the meatballs in a large frying pan with oil, turning them occasionally, until brown all over. You might need to do this in 2 batches. Add the meatballs to the slow cooker and stir to combine and the meatballs are coated in the sauce. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook the meatballs on high for 3 hours or on low for 6 hours. Then add the spaghetti to the slow cooker and cook on high for about 35-40 minutes until the pasta is al dente. Add 1 tbs of red wine vinegar to the dish. When it’s time to serve, scatter some extra oregano and parmesan on top.
Meatballs are one of the easiest dishes to prepare and they’re so versatile, they make the perfect partners with so many other favourites - think veggies, pasta, sandwiches and rice. For many, it’s all about the pasta. And it’s not just spaghetti, meatballs are perfect with all shapes and kinds of pasta. From pappardelle and penne to rigatoni and linguine, there’s no shortage or pasta partners for the tasty Italian bites. Meatballs and risoni is also an easy combination for a hearty dish. Simply cook the meatballs and serve on top of al dente risoni, or try the combo in a tray bake for a family-friendly dinner. Other sides to serve with meatballs include mashed potatoes, roast veggies, rice, in a sandwich or bread roll (hello, meatball sub!) or cook them with a rich tomato in the oven for baked Italian meatballs.
From baked meatballs to a veggie-packed version of the favourite, these meatball recipes are ready to hit refresh on your family meals. Ready in around 30 minutes this cheesy skillet-baked meatball also has a homemade basil oil for a flavour boost. Get more veggies into the family dinner with this simple zucchini spaghetti and meatballs. Prep these beef and herb meatballs with creamy pepper sauce ahead of time for a tasty weeknight dinner. For a flavour-packed twist on classic meatballs, give these speedy Asian-style-meatballs a try.
Energy: 3636kJ/867 Cals (42%)
Protein: 50g (100%)
Fat: 31g (44%)
Sat fat: 10g (42%)
Carb: 75g (24%)
Sugar: 16g (18%)
Fibre: 18g (60%)
Sodium: 601mg (30%)