Spinach & Feta Meatballs

I’ve made quite a few resolutions for 2018 but one I would really like to keep is to cook more. I’ll be honest, I don’t particularly like cooking because I’m not very good at it. However, I have optimistically included a ‘Food & Drink’ category into my blog so here goes, my first shot at cooking…

SPINACH AND FETA MEATBALLS

The list of ingredients you will need:

  • A handful of fresh rosemary
  • 12 Jacob’s cream crackers
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of Dijon mustard
  • 500g of minced beef, pork or a mixture of the two 
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 large egg
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • A bunch of fresh basil
  • 1 bag of baby spinach
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 a fresh or dried red chilli
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 400g of fresh spaghetti 
  • 2 large chunks of feta cheese

I followed a basic Jamie Oliver recipe for making the meatballs and the sauce from scratch, however I wanted this dish to be more of a pasta bake with cheese and spinach included, so I adapted the recipe a little. With this in mind, I was only cooking for the four of us and by following this list of ingredients, I could’ve probably have fed 6 people instead!

MAKING THE MEATBALLS

To begin, you want to ensure everything is prepared so start by picking the leaves off of the rosemary and finely chop them. Next, wrap the crackers in a tea towel and smash them with a wooden rolling pin until they are completely crushed. I found this step a little hard as you aren’t able to know when the crackers are broken enough, so I put them into the mixing bowl early and decided to crush them with the end of the rolling pin as much as I could before breaking them up into fine pieces in my hands.

Once the crackers are crushed, add to the bowl the mustard, chopped rosemary, oregano and the minced meat. I wanted the egg to already be whisked before including this into the bowl so it was easier to mix, but if you prefer you can just crack the egg into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Add a good pinch of salt and pepper and then with clean hands scrunch and knead the mix up well.

Divide the mix into 4 large balls, then with wet hands divide each ball into 6 and roll into little meatballs. I found the more you roll the mix, the drier your hands get and the messier/uneven your meatballs become. If you are a perfectionist like myself, continue to keep your hands wet and your meatballs will be perfectly round! You should end up with 24.
Drizzle them with olive oil and move them around the plate until they are all covered.

COOKING THE PASTA, MEATBALLS AND SAUCE

To start making the sauce, pick your chosen basil leaves and leave them aside until later. Peel and finely chop the onion and the garlic (this was my least favourite part, my eyes could not stop streaming!). Finely chop your chilli and then thoroughly wash your hands straight after – my mum did tell me to do this (I didn’t pay attention) and then itched my eye…Big mistake!

Put a large saucepan on to boil for your pasta and leave to cook, stirring every so often so nothing sticks to the bottom. At the same time, heat a large frying pan and add two lugs of olive oil, add your onion and stir until it’s lightly golden. After, pop in your garlic and chilli until they start to get some colour and then add the basil leaves.
Next add your tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Make sure you are wearing an apron before pouring in the chopped tomatoes as I splashed my bright yellow jumper with rich red sauce!

Your pasta should be cooked so you can leave it to strain in a colander. Use the empty saucepan to transfer your tomato sauce. Add your bag of baby spinach, stir and leave on low heat to keep warm.
To cook the meatballs, clean off the frying pan and heat up before adding a lug of olive oil. Add the meatballs and stir them around to cook for 8-10 minutes until golden (it’s always best to check they’re cooked by opening one up inside where there should be no sign of any pink).
Once the meatballs are cooked, stir them into the sauce along with the pasta.

FINISHING TOUCHES

The meatballs, sauce and pasta are now all cooked and if you wanted, are ready to serve. However, I wanted to bake/grill the pasta with feta cheese sprinkled on top. To do this, find a large dish and pour in the whole lot. Cut up your chunks of feta cheese and break them up with your fingers to sprinkle on top of the meatballs – use more or less feta depending on your preferences! To finish, place your dish into a pre-heated oven for the feta to melt a little.

Once melted to your perfection, serve into a bowl. I decided to grate some parmesan cheese on top and then add my basil leaves for extra taste.

…enjoy!

xo

1 Comment

  • Darren Gray Posted January 11, 2018 4:16 pm

    Mmmm… and it was tasty, too! x

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