Simple Balanced Meals: Pasta & Meatballs with Puttanesca Sauce {AD}

‘The #SimpleBalancedMeals #CookingatHome campaign is sponsored by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) – the English, Welsh and Scottish levy bodies that between them cover all food groups in a healthy balanced diet.’

Do you have a favourite simple and balanced meal? One that you can create (practically in your sleep) with no recipe, using mainly store-cupboard ingredients at home?! Mine is pasta and meatballs with a simple Puttanesca sauce. It’s a balanced meal that our whole family enjoys!

Deep and rich, flavoured with anchovies, olives and capers, it’s the most delicious sauce.

Serve it with pasta and a side salad or whatever vegetable you have to hand — and meatballs made from fresh, lean minced beef — and you’re onto a real winner!

Simple Puttanesca Sauce with pasta and meatballs recipe
This simple Puttanesca Sauce with pasta and meatballs is a winner in our house

I can’t remember the first time I had Puttanesca sauce; it might have been a Jamie Oliver one — or Nigella — but I do remember that I absolutely loved it.

To all intents and purposes, it’s just a tomato sauce.

But it’s so delicious.

Deep and full of flavour, it’s an absolute knockout — especially when teamed with spaghetti and fresh meatballs.

Everything in Moderation

Lean red meat is a really important part of our diet. It is naturally rich in protein and low in salt.

Did you know that beef contains zinc, iron, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 that help the immune system to work normally?

I’m more likely to shop local — from small, independent butchers — and we definitely go for quality over quantity.

A FEW REASONS WHY INCLUDING LEAN RED MEAT IN OUR DIET IS SO IMPORTANT: 
  1. Lean beef is a naturally rich source of vitamin B12
  2. Vitamin B12 helps energy production in the body
  3. Vitamin B12 helps the nervous system work normally
  4. Vitamin B12 helps red blood cell formation
  5. Vitamin B12 helps the immune system work normally
  6. Vitamin B12 helps reduce tiredness and fatigue
  7. Beef is naturally rich in protein, low in salt and provides eight vitamins and minerals that contribute towards good health and wellbeing. These are: iron, niacin (vitamin B3), vitamins B6 and B12, zinc, riboflavin, potassium and phosphorus.

Family Favourites

I have a handful of family favourites that I really enjoy cooking; Lentil and Bacon Soup, Bolognese, Sticky Glazed Chicken Drumsticks, Beef Chilli plus — the one I’m going to share here today — pasta and meatballs with a simple Puttanesca sauce.

Being able to cook something really tasty, from scratch — quickly and easily — is always gratifying. But when it’s something healthy that the whole family enjoys, it’s a real joy.

Particularly when it requires very little effort to make but is always really well received.

This recipe is a real crowd pleaser; made with lean minced beef and basic store-cupboard ingredients, it’s my twins’ ultimate favourite simple balanced meal and — now we are based at home — they can also help me make it! 

Pasta & Meatballs with a Simple Puttanesca Sauce Recipe
Happy faces!

Pasta & Meatballs with a Simple Puttanesca Sauce

Serves 6
(we’re a family of 4 so I save a couple of portions of the sauce for later in the week)

You will need (all items are changeable depending what you have in!):
Olive oil (you can also use cooking oil spray if you prefer)
5 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
6 anchovy fillets, finely chopped (or you can use a teaspoon of anchovy paste instead)
1 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
A small jar of pitted black olives — either 90g-120g (whatever’s available!)
2 tbsp capers
Lean beef mince — around 500g
Dried spaghetti — approx 56g per person
A little salt and pepper
A handful of finely chopped fresh parsley — to serve

Method:

1. Heat a nice big glug (a couple of tbsp) of olive oil in a large pan, then throw in the garlic and onions.

2. When they’re starting to change colour, add the anchovies and give it all a stir.

3. Next add the tin of tomatoes and a couple of spoonfuls of tomato purée, followed by the olives and capers.

Pasta & Meatballs with a Simple Puttanesca Sauce Recipe

4. Pop the lid on and simmer.

5. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the spaghetti according to the pack instructions.

6. Meanwhile, form your lean minced beef into little balls. I usually make mine just a bit smaller than a golf ball.

I generally add a little salt and pepper first, then give it all a stir. Then split into around 12 little equal amounts, before forming into little balls in the palm of my hand.

7. Heat up a frying pan — give it a spritz with cooking oil spray (or wipe over with a little olive oil) — then pop in the meatballs.

As they start to colour on the outside, turn them over until they’re lovely dark golden shade all over. Take off the heat.

8. You can either pop them straight into the simmering sauce at this point, or — if you have children like mine, who don’t like little bits of onion — use a blender stick to blitz the Puttanesca Sauce.

I love doing this as it makes the sauce look really smooth and glossy.

9. Once you’re happy with the consistency, throw in the partially cooked meatballs and let them simmer in the sauce for about 5 minutes, or until cooked through

10. Finally, drain the pasta, serve with the meatballs in Puttanesca sauce, then finish with the chopped parsley (or leave out if you don’t have any — this is really just for garnish!).

Voila!

Serve and bask in the glory and adoration of your family, who think you’re the best cook on the planet!

Easy swaps if you don’t have all the ingredients

I know getting specific ingredients can be difficult at the moment. 

Some of these ingredients can be swapped, or even left out, if you don’t have them.

For example, if you don’t have capers just make the recipe without.

If you don’t have anchovy fillets, you can use anchovy paste, Worcestershire sauce (as it actually contains anchovies), or even Asian fish sauce — or shrimp paste — can be used.

Yield: Serves 4/6

Pasta & Meatballs with a Simple Puttanesca Sauce

recipe for Pasta & Meatballs with a Simple Puttanesca Sauce

A really easy recipe for Pasta & Meatballs with a Simple Puttanesca Sauce.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • Olive oil (can also use cooking oil spray)
  • 5 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 
1 medium onion, chopped
  • 
6 anchovy fillets, finely chopped (can use a teaspoon of anchovy paste instead)

  • 1 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes

  • 2 tbsp tomato purée

  • A small jar of pitted black olives — either 90g-120g (whatever's available!)

  • 2 tbsp capers

  • Lean beef mince — around 500g
  • Dried spaghetti — approx 56g per person

  • A little salt and pepper
  • A handful of finely chopped fresh parsley — to serve

Instructions

    1. Heat a nice big glug (a couple of tbsp) of olive oil in a large pan, then throw in the garlic and onions.

    2. When they're starting to change colour, add the anchovies and give it all a stir.

    3. Next add the tin of tomatoes and a couple of spoonfuls of tomato purée, followed by the olives and capers.

    4. Pop the lid on and simmer.

    5. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the spaghetti according to the pack instructions.

    6. Meanwhile, form your lean minced beef into little balls. I usually make mine just a bit smaller than a golf ball.

    I generally add a little salt and pepper first, then give it all a stir. Then split into around 12 little equal amounts, before forming into little balls in the palm of my hand.

    7. Heat up a frying pan — give it a spritz with cooking oil spray (or wipe over with a little olive oil) — then pop in the meatballs.

    As they start to colour on the outside, turn them over until they are lovely dark golden shade all over. Take off the heat.

    8. You can either pop them straight into the simmering sauce at this point, or — if you have children like mine, who don't like little bits of onion — use a blender stick to blitz the Puttanesca Sauce.

    I love doing this as it makes the sauce look really smooth and glossy.

    9. Once you're happy with the consistency, throw in the partially cooked meatballs and let them simmer in the sauce for about 5 minutes or until cooked through.

    10. Finally, drain the pasta, serve with the meatballs in Puttanesca sauce, then finish with the chopped parsley (or leave out if you don't have any — this is really just for garnish!).

    Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Remember to keep jars of olives, capers and anchovies in the store-cupboard! These ingredients take a regular tomato sauce and elevate it into something special.

Easy swaps if you don’t have all the ingredients

Some of these ingredients can be swapped, or even left out, if you don’t have them. For example, if you don’t have capers just make the recipe without. If you don’t have anchovy fillets, you can use anchovy paste, Worcestershire sauce (it actually contains anchovies!), Asian fish sauce or shrimp paste can be used.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4/6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 385Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 116mgSodium 746mgCarbohydrates 16gFiber 4gSugar 4gProtein 41g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix

Visit https://eatwelshlambandwelshbeef.com/en, https://www.simplybeefandlamb.co.uk/ and https://www.scotchkitchen.com/ for more delicious and simple balanced meals with beef.

This is a paid partnership with BritMums as part of the #SimpleBalancedMeals and #CookingatHome campaign but all thoughts, words and images — as ever — are entirely my own.

Please share, if you like this!

About Caro Davies

Caro Davies art directed fashion and interiors before leaving the world of design to pursue a career in social media. She can now be found chasing the light — and two small twin boys.

12 thoughts on “Simple Balanced Meals: Pasta & Meatballs with Puttanesca Sauce {AD}

  1. This is are really interesting dish with lots of different flavours I wouldn’t have thought to put together. Thanks for sharing and will give this a go.

    1. It’s amazing how the addition of just three ingredients can make a plain tomato sauce so special :) Although — I tend to use anchovies in everything! It’s definitely my umami ingredient!

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