Why Pasta and Lamb Meatballs?
There is nothing quite like pasta and meatballs. Kids and adults alike flock when the word meatballs are mentioned.
Although popular, I do find myself often eating meatballs that are dry and chewy or on the other hand too complicated that you have a hard time remembering that you are eating the classic meatball.
To me the key to a great meatball is to keep the flavours few and simple (at the end of the meal you want to taste the meat). Having said this, flavours should also compliment the meat of choice and not cover it up.
Another key factor to a great meatball is to make sure that they are tender and moist. I always use fresh breadcrumbs when making meatballs. They are easy to make and compared to the dry supermarket version, help maintain a tender meatball every time. Besides fresh breadcrumbs, finely grated vegetables such as carrot, zucchini and onion will help keep the meatball moist and tasty while it cooks.
This Mediterranean version of the classic pasta and meatballs is easy to make and a tasty alternative to the classic. The meatballs are humble with a fresh touch of parsley and the pasta, simply tossed in black olive tapanade and served with a little tomato sauce that the meatballs cooked in. Simple yet tasty – the way a classic meatball should be.
500g fine lamb mince
½ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup greek style yoghurt
80ml olive oil
1x400g tin chopped tomato
100g black olive tapenade
Grated parmesan, to serve
In a large bowl place the lamb mince, parsley, garlic, lemon zest, breadcrumbs, egg and yoghurt. Mix thoroughly to combine and season well.
Roll the mixture into 16 golf ball size balls and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
In the meantime bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside and keep warm.
Heat the remaining oil in a large non stick frying pan over medium high heat. Add the meatballs and carefully shake the frying pan to turn the meatballs. Cook for 3 minutes turning until they just start to colour. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes and turn the heat down to medium low. Cook for a further 8 minutes, turning, until the meatballs are tender and the sauce is rich.
Toss the pasta in the olive tapenade and divide amongst 4 warm bowls. Top with meatballs, tomato sauce, roughly chopped parsley and freshly grated Parmesan.