Growing up I used to love everything pasta! Pasta with diced beef cooked with fresh whole tomatoes or a bolognese style sauce without vegetables, just minced beef and tomato sauce. We also regularly ate pasta with fresh seafood, never with any kind of vegetables. I used to think why would anyone eat pasta with vegetables? In my opinion pasta was supposed to be enjoyed al dente with a quick beef or seafood based tomato sauce, or with just the tomato sauce alone, flavoured using fresh garlic, chillies and fresh herbs.
Later in life my views changed when I become a mother with fussy children who would never eat vegetables. I started to hide the vegetables in my cooking, and over time every meal I cooked contained or was served with vegetables. This dish is one of my teenage son’s favourite dishes; he always comes back for seconds.
The ingredients ready to be mixed
small to medium sized balls will work best for this dish
Nice and golden brown
Cooking it in the sauce makes the meatballs softer
Hot from the oven
- 500g beef mince
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled
- 1 celery stick
- ½ red capsicum
- ¼ bunch parsley, finely chopped
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vegetable seasoning
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 700ml bottles Passata Sauce
- 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 500g penne pasta
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees for 15 minutes
- Cut all of the vegetables into medium sized pieces, including 2 garlic cloves and half of the parsley. Place in the food processer, and process until the vegetables are finely chopped.
- In a bowl add the beef, vegetables, breadcrumbs, seasoning and eggs, and mix together well.
- Shape the mixture into medium sized balls and place on a well-oiled baking dish.
- Place the meatballs in the oven and cook for 15 minutes depending on your oven.
- While the meat is in the oven, heat the oil in a saucepan on medium heat, when the pan is hot, add the remaining garlic and parsley and cook for one minute. Add the Passata sauce, BBQ sauce, salt and pepper, cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked.
- When the meatballs are cooked, remove from the oven and add them to sauce. Cook for a further 10 minutes.
- Make the sure the sauce is well seasoned, add more salt depending on preference.
- Cook the pasta based on the packet instructions.
- In a baking dish, spread one cup of the meatball sauce as the first layer.
- In a large bowl mix the remaining meatball sauce and pasta together and add to the baking dish.
- Cover with the shredded cheese and bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese is golden.