Beef and olive meatballs

Spaghetti is great for soaking up all of the rich flavours of the sauce

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

MEATBALLS

Ingredients

450g (1lb) mince meat
1 small onion, very finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 tsp dried thyme or 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tbsp tomato sauce
75g (3oz) pitted black olives, finely chopped
2 tbsp sunflower oil

For the tomato sauce:

1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400g (14oz) can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée
1/2 tsp sugar

Method:

1 Place the mince, onion, garlic and herbs in a large mixing bowl and add the tomato sauce and olives. Season well and shape into 20 walnut-sized meatballs. Heat half of the oil in a large non-stick saucepan, add the meatballs and cook for ten minutes, turning every so often until well coloured.

2 Cook the pasta according to the pack instructions until just tender. In a separate frying pan, heat the remaining oil and add the onion. Gently cook for ten minutes until perfectly softened. Add the garlic and cook for two minutes.

3 Add the tomatoes, tomato purée and sugar and pour in 200ml (7floz) water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and season to taste. Add the meatballs and simmer for 15 minutes until thickened and rich. Divide the spaghetti among four warmed pasta dishes and top each with meatballs and sauce. Serve straight away with some fresh Parmesan.

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