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Quick sausage meatball pasta

When I started my blog, it was just about me, you know, cooking and baking and eating and rattling on. I wasn’t sure what specific direction I wanted to take it. Not that much has changed in two years in the cooking/rattling on sense I guess, but now I think I do know what this blog is really about. I’ve found my niche, carved my specialism, honed my theme – you get the idea. Hopefully you get what my blog is about without me saying it too – I hope my recipes are speaking for themselves these days. If not then I’ll spell it out for you: real family food.

By ‘real‘, I mean food that adults, as well as children, want to eat. Proper grub, sometimes indulgent, sometimes healthy, sometimes spicy – but always easy. Yes we have to feed the kids, but we want to enjoy mealtimes too – and that means proper flavours and as little stress as possible. And I want to be totally clear on one thing: this family eats together, the same meal, not several different ones. This is really important and, I believe, the main reason my kids have a good attitude towards food. (That doesn’t mean they eat everything I give them – they don’t, but they’ll try most things.)

Sure, on a Friday night I might give the kids jackets and beans because me and Daddy are planning on a massive Tandoori King Prawn eating competition (not a euphemism) later, but mostly, 9 times out of 10, we all sit around the table and eat the same meal. Granted, Arthur might leave all his tomatoes, and Bea might thrown her chewed up bits of meat on the floor, but most of it gets eaten.

I’m doing that rattling on thing again (sorry).

This dish isn’t the most sophisticated thing I’ve ever crafted. But it’s tasty, it’s quick (on the table in under twenty minutes), and it’s reasonably wholesome. So yeah, it’s good enough for me. And we all enjoyed it. Together. (Most importantly, I didn’t break into a sweat cooking it).

I used fusilli, which is easy for the little ones to pick up. But spaghetti would be good too. Any pasta would do really.

Serves: 3 adults (or 2 children and 2 adults) – to serve more simply increase 100g pasta per adult / 50g per child
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes 
Total time: 15 minutes 

500g good quality plain sausages, skins pulled off and meat rolled into bite size balls – or just chopped into bitesize pieces
300g fusilli pasta
5 tablespoons of pesto
250g on the vine cherry tomatoes, halved
Small glass of red (or white would be fine) wine (optional)
1 clove of garlic (optional)
2 tablespoons of olive oil

Lots of freshly grated parmesan, to serve


  1. Put a large pan, filled with water, on to boil. Add salt. 
  2. Squeeze the sausage meat out of the sausage skins and roll into little balls. Or if you can’t be bothered, simply chop up the sausages with their skins still on. 
  3. In a heavy bottom frying pan, add your oil and gently soften the garlic for a few minutes without colouring, if using garlic. (You can always leave the garlic out so this stage is less faff.)
  4. Add your sausage balls and gently fry, colouring a little but be conscious of the garlic, which you don’t want to colour as it tastes acrid. 
  5. By this time the pasta water will be boiling so throw in your pasta and cook for around 9-11 minutes, or whatever it says on the packet. I always do mine al dente, so I shave a minute off.  
  6. Tip a small glass of wine to ‘deglaze’ the pan (posh word for scraping bits of flavour off the bottom). Increase heat to bubble the booze off. Now for the tomatoes and pesto, and then just let it simmer gently for rest of cooking time. 
  7. Drain the pasta – but reserve half a mugful of starchy cooking water to make a little sauce with after. 
  8. Tip the meatballs into the pasta and toss. Add a splash of cooking water (this helps prevent sticking, claggy pasta) and toss again. Season with freshly ground black pepper and serve with plenty of parmesan. Rejoice in dinner being so easily put together and all most of it being eaten. 

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