Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Meatballs with spaghetti (Bill Granger) in homemade passata

We eat superbly prepared home-cooked food every night for dinner. Unfortunately, they aren't prepared by me.'s 'fortunately', to me. That's because our mom-in-law and aunt-in-law are great cooks. They cook super delicious proper Chinese meals, with at least 4 dishes and one soup. Yep! FOUR dishes!! Assam fish, sweet and sour pork, 芋头扣肉 (pork and yam in braised sauce), black bean with pork ribs.. are among those that are wonderfully prepared by them for a normal day dinner. So, can you imagine what we eat on special occasions? LOTS! And I am out of words to describe, anyway, I shall explain with photos next time, cos CNY is coming soon, yay!
I was the chef last night. Why? Cos the in laws are out for wedding dinner. Hooray! 我终于可以大展厨艺了!(I get to cook! finally).. hahaa.. not that I cook well, but I am quite confident that my dishes are edible. But I would never cook Chinese meals when there are occasions like this, cos I can never cook 4 dishes and 1 soup in 1.5hrs (that's the duration I have once gotten home from work to dinner time). I prefer something non-Chinesy.. which to me are much easier and fuss free. I asked the hubby if he would like to have lasagna or pasta. He chose pasta.
Instead of a normal Bolognese, I wanted to try out something different, something I haven't done before. So, meatballs, he gets. Hubby is not the very choosy type, but if you're eating 'restaurant-standard' Chinese food at home every night, I am sure you too would have a certain level of expectation. So I try to plan ahead.
I found Bill's Spicy Chicken Meatballs recipe(from Bill Granger Every Day) from google and would make it but opt out the 'spicy ingredient, ie chilli' and would replace chicken with pork. It turned out good! They are my first meatballs done, I think. I have done patties and burgers for the lil' fella but not meatballs. The meatballs were very succulent and meaty, in fact, too meaty for me. Maybe I can try it with more vege (possibly water chestnuts or lotus roots) incorporated in it next time.

Here's my recipe (adapted from Bill's)
  • 350g minced pork (上肉)
  • 3tbsp breadcrumbs (made from one day old bread)
  • 1tsp Italian herbs seasoning
  • 1/2 red onion (finely minced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (finely minced)
  • Salt and cracked black pepper for seasoning
  • 1 egg, beaten
Season the minced pork with salt and seasoning. Add in breadcrumbs, finely minced onion and garlic and beaten egg. Grab about 1 tablespoonful of the mixture and roll into round shape. (Option: refrigerate or freeze for 5-15min if the mix seems too soft. But it was okay for mine. So I didn't do this).
Steam the meatballs for about 10min or until cook through (I did this instead of roasting or pan-frying to cut down the oil used). I collected the water/juice that comes out from the steamed meatballs and reserved it for my passata sauce.
Usually, when I make pasta, I would buy canned passata cos they are convenient, and according to Jamie Oliver, it's OKAY.. hahahaaa... Anyways, this time, I decided to make my own, cos it's quite easy and it would taste exactly the same as canned passata, if not better. But homemade passata definitely cost more.
I used this lot of tomatoes...

to make this .. :) .. and of course there are other ingredients...
Simply summarized, my passata sauce was made with
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red onion
  • half purple carrots (to give it the vibrant red color)
  • about 200g pumpkin (to give it the sweetness which I fear I may not get from my tomatoes)
  • and tomatoes (quantity as shown in above photo)
These ingredients were all steamed (my shortcut way to roasting them) and blitz in a blender. And it tastes just like the tomato sauce from the can and it wasn't even seasoned yet.
When preparing the passata for the meatballs, I heat it up with grapeseed oil, season with salt and pepper, dash of balsamic vinegar (hubby then complained it's sour -.<) and old red wine (which have been in the fridge for over a year...hohooo), and cooked it with the meatballs for about 5min.


I'm linking this post to Cook like a Star (Bill Granger), organised by Zoe, Bake for Happy Kids, Yen from Eat your heart out and Mich from Piece of Cake.


  1. Ooo baby is enjoying the pasta too :)

  2. Hi Jennifer,

    I can't believe that your in-laws and you are "fighting" to cook... How I wish someone can cook and wash up for me... Having said that, I'm like you too... curious to try out new recipes :D

    I see lots of happy faces enjoying your delicious home-cooked meatballs and pasta :D



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