Singleton spaghetti with a chance of meatballs


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Every now and then, I get a hankering for one of those dishes that smacks of nostalgia.  I don’t come from an Italian family, and we didn’t eat this dish particularly often growing up, but somehow I am incredibly fond of it & feel that all is well with the world once I’ve eaten it.  And so in light of this, spaghetti and meatballs goes into the category of Singleton Suppers, because this is where we can be indulgent and indignant & stuff our faces (in an attractive sort of way) with delicious, beautiful food.  Just because we’re cooking for one does not mean we have to put up with those ghastly 2-minute noodles (whilst watching 7-minute abs) seasoned with whatever is in the pantry. No no, my single friends!  We do not have to resort to toast and tea just because there’s no-one else around!  We can flex our creative mojo without generating so much food we fall into a Great Depression.  We can get out all our cooking paraphernalia (like those lumo-pink polka dot silicon oven mitts your ex gave you for your birthday) and use them all with gay abandon! (Not that kind of gay, my lovelies.)


There are a million recipes out there for spaghetti & meatballs, but this is my favorite, made with as many organic & free-range ingredients as possible.  When it comes to simple dishes like this, you’ll want to find the best possible ingredients around, and luckily here in South Africa we have a plethora of wonderful people growing & nurturing ‘clean’ ingredients, as well as some impressive imports.  I try not to buy too many imported products, as I’m always aware of food miles – the distance food travels from origin to customer – and rather spend my hard-earned dimes on locally produced, seasonal food.

What you’ll need… (serves 1)

¼ bag organic spaghetti (whole wheat spaghetti is also nice!)

For the meatballs…

½ small organic onion, grated finely

1 tbsp salt

3 tsp fresh organic oregano, chopped finely

250g lean free-range beef mince

1 tbsp dried breadcrumbs

2 tsp paprika

Lots of cracked black pepper

For the tomato sauce…

2 tbsp organic olive oil (try Foxenberg organic)

1 large fresh organic garlic clove

4 large, ripe organic tomatoes, cored, skinned & chopped

1 big sprig organic basil, torn into pieces

Salt & coarse black pepper

To serve: Shavings of Parmesan cheese or torn pieces of *Buffalo Ridge mozzarella

And then…

Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl and get stuck in with your hands.  Mix this very well to combine all those lovely flavors & then form into small balls.  You can make them as big or small as you like, but generally I find that the smaller the better, as it’s easier to eat them that way.

Heat a non-stick pan to pretty darn hot on your stove top, and start dry-frying the meatballs in batches.  Make sure the pan’s not too crowded, as the little dudes won’t get any nice color on them that way.  Once sealed, remove them from the pan and set aside.  Repeat with the remainder of your meatballs until they’re all sealed on the outside.

Pour off any excess oil from you pan that may have collected and pour in your olive oil.  Turn the heat down to medium & toss in the garlic & oregano and literally stir once, then add the tomatoes.  Cook this gently for about 5-8 minutes, then place your meatballs into the tomato sauce.  Simmer gently for 10-15 minutes and then season with salt and coarse black pepper.

While the meatballs are finishing you can cook your spaghetti. Bring a big pot of water to a boil and add a tablespoon of salt. Cook until al dentè, and drain immediately. Coat with a wee bit more of that gorgeous organic olive oil & place back into your pot.  Empty the meatballs and tomato sauce over the pasta and toss really well.

You can serve this with your favorite Parmesan cheese, however I’ve yet to find a local organic hard cheese that rivals the flavor that Grana Padano or Parmigiana Reggiano kick out.  Alternatively, a wonderful twist would be to tear up a gorgeous ball of fresh buffalo mozzarella and serve your pasta with that.

*Buffalo Ridge is the only producer of authentic buffalo milk mozzarella in South Africa, and is situated in Wellington – on this very unique farm are the happiest, most spoilt water buffalo known to man.  Think baby buffalos frolicking in the spray from their water trough.  The Rademeyers treat their beasts as their own, thus each one has a name, which is tagged to it’s ear.  We’re talking seriously happy buffalos here, folks.  Because of this, the yield of milk to make mozzarella is of extraordinarily high quality, rivaling some of the Italian imports.  Give it a go, it’ll take those meatballs to a whole nutha level!

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  1. Jessica

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