Pasta with mince balls Just like Nonna used to make FOOD EX­TRA A British clas­sic from Hairy Bik­ers


IF we’re go­ing to start cook­ing to­gether, I must share with you my fam­ily’s all-time favourite – pasta with mince balls.

I’ve been mak­ing these since I was a girl help­ing my Nonna; now my grand­chil­dren help me make the same meal. The smells while they’re cook­ing are di­vine, the licked plates and Nonna – “Can I have some more?” – a joy.

It is re­ally quick and cheap to make, but best of all it tastes bril­liant.

Easy peasy!

For the mince balls

200g lean minced beef

3tbsp bread­crumbs (whizz some old bread in a blender)

1tbsp grated parme­san cheese (op­tional)

1tbsp finely chopped pars­ley

1 small onion, finely grated

Sea salt and black pep­per


Put all the in­gre­di­ents in a bowl, mix well then roll into eight to 10 small balls.

1 clove gar­lic, peeled 1 small dried chilli or pinch chilli flakes

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 fresh bay leaf

3 x 400g tins toma­toes, whizzed in a blender

Sea salt and black pep­per A few sprigs fresh basil


Start the sugo by warm­ing the oil in a shal­low saucepan.

Add the gar­lic and chilli, sautéing for a few min­utes to flavour the oil.

Add the onion, stir it around in the oil. Add the fresh bay leaf and with the lid on, leav­ing it on a low heat for four to five min­utes to soften with­out burn­ing.

Raise the heat a lit­tle and add the mince balls a few at a time, turn­ing them in the oil to brown them. Re­move and leave aside.

When the mince balls are all

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