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Cooking with kids: Spaghetti & meatballs with hidden veg sauce

Cooking with kids: Spaghetti & meatballs with hidden veg sauce

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(10 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 30 mins

Easy

Serves 6 (4 children, 2 adults)
Teach children how to make this pasta supper - it's a tasty family meal packed with nutrients

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition per serving

  • kcalories388
  • fat24.7g
  • saturates9.4g
  • carbs10.2g
  • sugars7.2g
  • fibre2.5g
  • protein31.3g
  • salt1.5g
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Ingredients

For the meatballs

  • 300g good quality pork sausage (about 4 large or 8 chipolatas)
  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 1 small onion, coarsely grated

    Onion

    un-yun

    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 1 carrot, finely grated

    Carrot

    ka-rot

    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 1 tbsp dried oregano

    Oregano

    or-ee-gar-no

    Closely related to marjoram, of which it is the wild equivalent, oregano has a coarser, more…

  • 50g Parmesan, finely grated, plus extra to serve

    Parmesan

    parm-ee-zan

    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…

  • 1 medium egg

    Egg

    egg

    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

For the tomato sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1 courgette, coarsely grated

    Courgette

    corr-zjet

    The courgette is a variety of cucurtbit, which means it's from the same family as cucumber,…

  • 3 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • pinch caster sugar
  • splash red wine vinegar
  • 2x 400g tins chopped tomato

To serve

  • cooked spaghetti

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Method

  1. Children: Squeeze all the sausage meat out of the sausage skins into a large bowl and add the mince. Tip all the rest of the meatball ingredients, except the olive oil, into the bowl and season with black pepper then squish everything together through your hands until completely mixed. Keep an eye on younger children to make sure they don’t taste any of the raw mix.

  2. Children: Roll the meatball mix into walnut-sized balls and place them on a plate – this is a job children as young as 2 can help with and a great job to help teach older children basic division.

  3. Grown ups: While the children are rolling the meatballs make the sauce. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the courgette and garlic and cook for 5 mins until soft and mushy. Stir in the tomato puree, sugar and vinegar leave for 1 min then tip in the tomatoes and simmer for 5 mins. If your children like courgettes then you can leave the sauce chunky. But if, like mine, they hate courgettes then blitz the sauce with a hand blender – either way continue to simmer sauce gently while you cook the meatballs. If your child is confident with heat, from 7+ they can cook the sauce with supervision.

  4. Grown ups: Heat the oil in a large frying pan and, working in batches, brown the meatballs on all sides then pop them into the sauce – continue to simmer the sauce for 15 mins, stirring very gently until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve with cooked spaghetti, extra grated Parmesan and a few torn basil leaves your child has picked and torn.

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Comments (13)

luckiebenz's picture
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These meatballs are the tastiest I've ever eaten. My boys love them too! I haven't tried the sauce as I make my own but we all get very excited when I make these meatballs! Super delicious!

Yabayee's picture
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Gorgeous! My 1 and 2 year olds loved it, as did my hubby and me. I love that this caters for a larger family, and will no doubt be one I keep going back to as my family grows.

The hidden veg in the meatballs add a wonderful moistness and texture, the sausage meat with the beef makes them very tender.

The sauce was thick and delicious. I might cook it down a bit more next time and serve it in soft rolls with extra cheese as sloppy joes.

Only thing I would warn is that batch frying the meatballs takes time. I might try doing them in the oven next time as one commenter suggested.

lyndasim's picture

This was really tasty, however it was time consuming when involving a 3 and 4yr old! I will make them well in advance in future.
Due to the amount of meatballs made, once browned I put them on a heated tray in the oven in batches. This not only ensured they were cooked through but also drained some of the fat away. They also then kept their shape when placed in the sauce.
I took previous advice and blitzed the sauce to a smooth consistency which I thought worked well.
Everyone really enjoyed it.

tinycaro's picture
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Really yummy. My son had two helpings of the meatballs and didn't even know he was eating courgette!

saelma4's picture

Made this recipe with my 7 year old, she really enjoyed making the meatballs and considering it was her first time cooking (with help) we were all really impressed with the results.A different sauce than i usually make but would definitely make it again!

hbomb10's picture

I have tried out this recipe a few times now with great results. I did find that sometimes the meatballs come apart at the browning stage but 6 cream crackers made into breadcrumbs and mixed in before balling sorted this out and they held so much better. Tried it out on my sisters kids who are very picky and they cleared their plates.

emm4lc's picture
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this was great, me and my 4 year old made this tonight and she loved helping out! cleared her plate and asked for seconds..unheard of with this fussy eater! thank you :)

jean16's picture
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This is really tasty - added some red pepper flakes to the sauce too to add a bit of spice. Really really nice - loved by all including my 2 year old.

kimlyoung's picture
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My kids and I (7 and 4) made fresh pasta to go with this, it was incredibly tasty and will definitely make it again!

wattleywoo's picture
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This recipe delivers a clean plate every time! Adults and children alike love it. Rather than the minced pork, I just zuzz up some bacon, which works equally well.

bridalzone's picture
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full of flavour. very tasty. children loved it

funkychicken1's picture
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An excellent recipe, I'd definately recommend this.....cooked by a brilliant 7 year old!

chef-kymothy's picture

That is a very clever idea hidding vegetables in sauces! My mum once hid a marrow in her ratatouille and the tomato hid the flavour completely! I can't wait to try this out at home :)

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