Cooking with kids: Spaghetti & meatballs with hidden veg sauce

Cooking with kids: Spaghetti & meatballs with hidden veg sauce

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(9 ratings)

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Cooking time

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 30 mins

Skill level

Easy

Servings

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

Additional info

  • Freezable
Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving

kcalories
388
protein
31.3g
carbs
10.2g
fat
24.7g
saturates
9.4g
fibre
2.5g
sugar
7.2g
salt
1.5g

Ingredients

For the meatballs

  • 300g good quality pork sausages (about 4 large or 8 chipolatas)
  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 1 small onion, coarsely grated
  • 1 carrot, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 50g Parmesan, finely grated, plus extra to serve
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the tomato sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 courgette, coarsely grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • pinch caster sugar
  • splash red wine vinegar
  • 2x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

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.

Recipe from bbcgoodfood.com, July 2012

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Comments

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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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