Italian sausage polpettina & macaroni bake

Italian sausage polpettina & macaroni bake

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(15 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 1 hr, 20 mins


Serves 8

This big dish is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser – you can never make too much of this kind of food

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable


  • kcal881
  • fat47g
  • saturates16g
  • carbs77g
  • sugars13g
  • fibre4g
  • protein40g
  • salt1.75g
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  • 150ml olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

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

  • 2 large onions, finely diced



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

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 100g fresh breadcrumb
  • 50ml milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a 'complete' food…

  • 500g quality beef mince



    The classic choice of meat for a British Sunday roast. Beef is full of flavour, as…

  • 500g Italian sausage (about 8), meat squeezed from the skins
  • good handful chopped parsley



    One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…

  • 200ml red wine
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes



    A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…

  • 500g pack macaroni

For the white sauce

  • 50g butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 50g plain flour
  • 600ml milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a 'complete' food…

  • 100g grated tasty cheese, such as mature cheddar or gruyère


  1. Make the white sauce. Melt the butter in a medium pan, then stir in the flour. Keeping the heat high, whisk in the milk and bring to the boil, whisking until smooth and thickened. Season with a good pinch of salt and some pepper, then stir in most of the grated cheese and set aside, with the surface covered with cling film to stop if forming a skin.

  2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based casserole or frying pan, then add the onions and garlic and a real good grind of black pepper and salt. Cook slowly and gently until the onions are soft but not coloured. Take half the mix out and mix with the breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl. Using a slotted spoon, lift the rest of the onions out of the pan, leaving the oil behind, and set aside.

  3. Mix the mince and sausagemeat, chopped parsley and lots of salt and pepper into the breadcrumbs. Mix really well with your hands until the whole thing becomes pasty rather than lumpy. Shape into the size of ping-pong balls, then heat the pan again and brown the Simply serve with a fresh green salad balls in batches in the leftover onion oil. Remove the final batch, then return the reserved onions to the pan with the wine. Bubble over a high heat, scraping the bottom of the pan, then stir in the tomatoes and meatballs. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 mins. Can be made up to 2 days ahead or frozen.

  4. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and boil the macaroni according to pack instructions. Drain well, then mix with the meatball sauce. Tip into the largest ovenproof dish you have. Top with the white sauce (warm it a bit if it is slightly solid), then scatter with the remaining cheese. Bake for 35-40 mins until bubbling and golden.

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Comments, questions and tips

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15th Sep, 2009
Great recipe - served for supper for friends last night. Couldn't get Italian sausages so used premium Cumberland and added lots of oregano. Made meatballs and tomato sauce day before and finished dish the morning of the supper, kept in fridge until needed.
9th Sep, 2009
Fantastic – I served it as a family meal but would also make for an informal dinner party. Not sure about the stated prep time though – I would love to see John Torode prep this in half an hour!
1st Sep, 2009
Delicious. I added more herbs and a pinch of chilli flakes to the meatball mix. Will definatly make again.
19th Aug, 2009
Great recipe. Made this for a group of friends who now want the recipe! Best meatballs I've ever had. I put 1/2 tsp cayenne in the meatball mixture to give a bit of bite!


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