This post is sponsored by Barilla.
Uh, hello (MID!) December. How are everyone’s holidays shaping up? My holidays are a little different this year in that I’m on a pretty tight schedule writing my book so *most* holiday events have sadly been deemed “non essential”(with a couple of special exceptions, like, you know, the party I am hosting in my own home!).
But just because I am not entertaining or heading out to holiday events on a nightly basis, it doesn’t mean I don’t need a little help in the kitchen at this time of year. I’d argue, in fact, that I might need it even more! Let’s face it, during the crazy holiday season, everyone can use a hand 1. Coming up with easy party dishes and 2. Making sure they eat actual real meals as opposed to endless holiday hors d’oeuvres!
Today’s recipe featuring Barilla’s new range of Pronto pasta checks both of those boxes – it’s a great meal to serve at an informal holiday party but it’s also a quick meal to make in the middle of all of the fun that will satisfy your need for a real meal. Best of all? It uses what I consider to be pantry and freezer staples meaning you can have a fabulous meal or dish for your holiday party ready in just under an hour. Sound good?
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
For the meatballs:
- 454g (1lb) ground pork
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- a few grinds of freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 2-3 tablespoons oil
- For the pasta:
- 1 package 340g (12oz) Barilla Half-Cut Spaghetti
- 1 can (796mls) diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup passata (smooth tomato sauce)
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil leaves
To make the meatballs:
- Pre-heat the oven to low (around 275˚F). This will help keep the meatballs warm while the pasta is cooking.
- Place the ground pork, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and oregano in a large bowl.
- Use your hands to mix everything together, making sure the ingredients awe well distributed through the mixture.
- Use around 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mixture per meatball to make approximately 30 meatballs.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- In batches (if necessary - I was able to fit all my meatballs in one go), cook the meatballs for 10 minutes or until cooked through (no pink on the inside). If they are sticking a little, add a splash of water to the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape the pan clean.
- Remove the meatballs from the pan, place on a plate and cover with aluminium foil. Place in a warm oven until required.
To make the pasta:
- Add half the pasta to the pan, then cover with the tomatoes and their juices, the rest of the pasta and the passata.
- Use tongs to give everything a gentle but thorough stir and make sure the pasta is covered in liquid and not sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Cook for 8 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring regularly to make sure the pasta is not sticking to the pan. You may need the extra 1/2 cup of water if the pan starts to look a little dry.
- Lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Leave for 2 minutes then give it a good stir.
- Remove pan from the heat and add the meatballs. Use tongs to combine.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle over freshly grated Parmesan and fresh basil to serve.
What about you – what’s your go-to “real meal” that can double as a party dish?
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Barilla but all opinions are my own. I only write about and recommend products I use and love.