How many words beginning with M can I get into the name of one dish?
I love meatballs and also macaroni cheese so I thought that I would combine the two into one dish. This really is comfort food at its best and you only need two pans to make it. Plus, it doesn’t take that long to prepare so it is ideal for a weeknight meal.
I used beef mince (ground) to make my simple meatballs and then refrigerated them for a couple of hours. I always find that this helps them stay together a little better. If you like you can make the meatballs the night before you want to eat, then just leave them in the fridge covered in cling wrap until you are ready to cook.
As with nearly all my recipes, if you don’t like one of the ingredients then just swap it for something that you do like. I cheated and used a ready-made pasta sauce but feel free to make your own cheese sauce if you don’t like to use one out of a jar.
If you need to stretch this to feed more than 4 people then serve it with garlic bread and a big green side salad.
Ingredients – serves 4:
600g/21 oz beef mince (ground)
1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- small handful fresh parsley, finely chopped, plus few extra leaves to serve
- 250g/9 oz dried macaroni
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 500g/18 oz jar your favourite creamy pasta sauce (I used Bertolli Five Brothers Mushroom and White Wine)
- 3/4 cup grated cheese (I used Tasty, which is similar to cheddar)
- 200g/8 oz button mushrooms, quartered
- freshly ground black pepper, to serve
Put the beef mince, onion, garlic and parsley into a large bowl and mix using your clean hands.
Form the beef mixture into small meatballs, (about golf ball size), then place on a plate. Once all the meatballs are formed, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Heat your oven to 180C/160C fan forced/350F.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and add the macaroni. Cook according to packet directions until al dente (about 8-9 minutes depending on the size of your macaroni).
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan over a medium-high heat. Carefully add the meatballs to the pan and then cook, turning often using tongs, until the meatballs are well browned all over. This will take about the same time as the macaroni takes to cook.
Once the macaroni is cooked, drain off the water and then stir in the pasta sauce and 1/2 cup of the grated cheese.
Add the mushrooms to the sauté pan and cook for 2 minutes until they pick up a little colour.
Add the macaroni and sauce to the sauté pan and carefully stir to coat the meatballs in the sauce without breaking them up.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and then bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese is golden and the sauce bubbling.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before topping with the black pepper and reserved fresh parsley.
Serve and enjoy!