Reach­ing boil­ing point

Pot of doom lurks in friends’ kitchen, strikes when mak­ing pasta

Isis Town and Country - - LIFE - Shannon New­ley­ley@dai­lyex­am­

ABOUT a year ago I made an en­emy – the pot of doom.

This pot, or large saucepan, was re­spon­si­ble for me spend­ing the bet­ter part of my hol­i­days vis­it­ing the burns clinic af­ter I poured boil­ing wa­ter (which was in said pot) all over my fin­gers.

I was cook­ing a thank you din­ner for some friends I was stay­ing with at the time and the pot was a lit­tle heavy and the wine flowed per­haps a lit­tle freely.

As I was strain­ing the pasta, I lost my grip on the pot, im­mers­ing my hand in the boil­ing wa­ter.

Any­way, a year on and the hand is healed, even if the ill feel­ing to­wards the pot isn’t.

But I once again found my­self at my friends’ place, cook­ing them an­other thank you din­ner and need­ing to use the pot of doom to cook up enough pasta for six people to go with this roast gar­lic meat­ball dish.

This dish is a bit of a favourite go­ing into the cooler months and I love it be­cause it’s pretty much a clas­sic. Roast­ing the gar­lic changes the flavours a lit­tle from the usual way I do it, which is just pack­ing in a whole heap of raw crushed gar­lic.

Two heads of gar­lic may seem like I am try­ing to ward off vam­pires, but be­cause the roasted gar­lic flavour is much more sub­tle, you still won’t ac­tu­ally find it that strong.

The beauty of this dish is it’s easy to whip up a whole heap for a big­ger group or freeze the left­overs.

I have kept the sauce par­tic­u­larly sim­ple but you could cook down a lit­tle red wine with the pas­sata – do that in a saucepan be­fore adding to the bak­ing dish. You could also add a lit­tle chilli or you could add olives and more herbs.

I de­cided to go for the quick and easy ver­sion be­cause this din­ner was a thank you to my friends for host­ing my 30th birth­day party. It was the night af­ter my birth­day party and well, you can imag­ine my enthusiasm for leav­ing the lounge to work in the kitchen wasn’t at its usual level.

As for the safety side of things, this time around I didn’t have any wine and there was full su­per­vi­sion as I was strain­ing wa­ter from the pot of doom, which I had cooked our pep­per and basil pap­padrelle pasta in. But you could serve with crusty bread if you have your own pot of doom is­sues.


IN­GRE­DI­ENTS: 2 heads of gar­lic 500g pork mince 500g beef mince 1 cup of bread­crumbs 1 egg lightly whisked 1 ½ cups of parme­san cheese Salt and pep­per 700ml tomato pas­sata 1 ½ ta­ble­spoons brown su­gar 1 brown onion, diced Hand­ful of basil leaves, chopped Olive oil


Pre­heat oven to 200 de­grees. Take the outer skin off the heads of gar­lic, leav­ing the head in­tact and the skin on the in­di­vid­ual cloves. Cut the top of the head of gar­lic across ways so you are re­mov­ing just the tips of the cloves and mak­ing the head flat across the top. Driz­zle with oil and wrap in foil. Place in oven for 30 min­utes or un­til ten­der. Set aside to cool slightly. Mean­while, com­bine meat, bread­crumbs, egg, ¾ cup of parme­san and a gen­er­ous amount of salt and pep­per in a bowl and use your hands to mix it all through. Once the gar­lic has cooled enough to han­dle, squeeze cloves out in a bowl. They should be ten­der enough to mix into a paste. Add the roast gar­lic paste to the meat and com­bine well. Form mix­ture into meat­balls about the size of a golf ball or a bit smaller (depend­ing on how quickly you want them to cook). Heat a splash of oil in a fry pan. Add onion and cook over medium heat un­til soft. Re­move from pan and place in bak­ing dish. Add an­other splash of oil, then a batch of meat­balls be­ing care­ful not to over­crowd the pan. Al­low to brown for a few min­utes each side, then place into a large bak­ing dish. Re­peat with next batch un­til all are browned. Pour the tomato pas­sata into the bak­ing dish. Add the su­gar to the pas­sata jar with ½ cup of wa­ter, give it a good shake and then add to the bak­ing dish. Place in oven and cook for about 30 min­utes or un­til meat­balls are cooked through. Re­move from oven. Sprin­kle basil over the meat­balls, then cover with re­main­ing cheese. Re­turn to oven for a fur­ther 10 min­utes. Serve with your choice of crusty bread or pasta.

Chef's tip

To freeze, set aside be­fore adding basil and cheese, cool and pack into freezer-safe


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