Quick, amazing meatballs with pasta

We all love Ikea meatballs, right? Tonight I decided to skip the mash, gravy and lingonberry jam, and go with pasta instead. But what sauce to make..? I made this up (with a smidge of MEATLiquor-inspiration) and it was plate-licking good.

Serves 1 adult, 2 teenagers & 1 child.


  • 400g good quality pasta (I used De Cecco miniature penne)
  • 23 frozen Ikea meatballs
  • 1 tin of plum tomatoes
  • splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
  • half an onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 fat clove of garlic
  • heaped teaspoon of sugar
  • squirt of Heinz tomato ketchup
  • half a bottle of red wine
  • half a Knorr beef stockpot thingy
  • 1 tablespoon of plain flour
  • half teaspoon each of chilli powder, dried oregano, dried thyme
  • salt, pepper
  • some fresh basil & parmesan to garnish

Put the oven on – 225 degrees C – for the meatballs.

Finely chop the onion and fry on a low heat in the oil. As it starts to colour, add the garlic, chilli powder, thyme and oregano. Fry for another minute or so, taking care the garlic doesn’t burn. Slowly add the wine and then the beef stock cube. Add a can of tomatoes and a can of water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer for 5 or 1o minutes and add the Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, small amount of salt, pepper, sugar. Then add the sieved flour, and when you are happy everything is  cooked, blitz with a hand-blender. Check the seasoning, add ketchup to taste. Simmer and reduce for 15 minutes or so while you cook the pasta on the stove and meatballs in the oven.

You should end up with a thick, rich sauce. When the meatballs are cooked, plop them in the sauce pan (hey, I wonder if that’s where the name comes from…) so they soak up that umami-rich loveliness. Dish up a portion of pasta on each plate, add meatballs & sauce on top, garnish with shaved parmesan and fresh basil. EAT.

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