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Melting Meatball Macaroni

This recipe has all the elements of comfort food: beef and pork meatballs with an oozing cheesy filling, a rich tomato sauce and pasta.

Prep Time

    •    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    •    Cook Time: 30 minutes
    •    Yield: Serves 6


    •    3 bay leaves
    •    50ml red wine
    •    500ml passata
    •    2 tbsps olive oil
    •    400g beef mince
    •    300g pork mince
    •    ½ tsp chilli flakes
    •    ½ tsp fennel seeds
    •    2 tsps tomato purée
    •    2 tsps dried oregano
    •    4 garlic cloves, crushed
    •    2 tsps golden caster sugar
    •    1 large onion, finely chopped
    •    crusty bread, to serve (optional)
    •    2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
    •    400g macaroni or other pasta shape
    •    200g taleggio or mozzarella, chopped into small chunks


  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Mix the pork and beef mince with the fennel seeds, chilli, 1 tsp oregano and some seasoning in a large bowl until combined. Divide and shape into 18 meatballs with a nugget or two of taleggio in the middle (save some for the top), then chill for 10 mins.

  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan (use a flameproof casserole dish if you can – it’ll save on washing up). Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sizzle until softened (about 8 mins). Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 min more, then add the tomato purée, wine, tomatoes, passata, bay leaves, sugar, the remaining oregano and lots of seasoning, then cover with a lid and simmer for 20 mins. Meanwhile, arrange the meatballs on a baking tray lined with foil, drizzle with the remaining oil and bake for 10 mins.

  3. Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling salted water according to packet instructions, then drain, reserving some water. If the pan isn't ovenproof, tip the sauce into a casserole dish. Stir the pasta into the sauce, along with the liquid from the meatballs and some pasta water if it needs thinning. Turn the grill to a medium-high setting.

  4. Nestle the meatballs into the pasta, so that they poke out the top. Scatter the remaining taleggio over the top and grill for 5-10 mins until the cheese and meatballs are golden. Serve with crusty bread, if you like.

This great family recipe is thanks to BBC Goodfood Recipes at


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