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Last night we had spaghetti and meatballs. Is there a more comforting dish? I am doubtful.

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I used: breadcrumbs (3 or so slices of bread’s worth), 500g beef mince, two sticks of celery, two onions, some butternut squash, garlic, bacon (cooking bacon), two 400g tins of chopped tomatoes.

Mince up your cooking bacon as finely as it will go. Cook in a little oil, letting it crisp up and deepen in colour. Whilst the bacon is cooking, wash and then whizz your onions,  celery, squash and garlic into a blitzed paste. Add to the bacon and let the flavours cook off together. In with the chopped tomatoes, and then use the two tins to add a further two tins of water. Season. Let the sauce blip away.

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In your food processor, blitz your bread into crumbs, and then add the mince. Mould this pliable meat paste into little balls, and brown off in a little seasoned oil. This makes more than enough meatballs for a family of five. When they are browned off, add to your sauce.

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This dish will benefit from a few hours on a slow heat. Keep an eye on it, top up with water if needs be. It will look like lots of sauce – this is good. You want lots of sauce.

Serve with spaghetti, and parmesan.

You should have some sauce (no meatballs) leftover – don’t dare through away! Pop it in little tubs in the freezer, and forget until one day you can’t think of anything to feed your children. This little pot of sauce can be used in several ways:

– stir cooked pasta through it and top with cheese. Grill. Easy peasy pasta bake.
– top a pitta bread with it and cover with toppings and cheese. Perfect mini pizza.
-Dilute with stock and whizz. Soup! Serve with bread.

Note about costs:
I used a fifth of a pack of cooking bacon which cost 81p for the whole pack. My mince was £1.75 for 500g from Lidl. Spaghetti was less than 50p from Lidl. The veg altogether won’t have cost more than 50p. This means that this meal cost me less than 75p per head to make, excluding fuel costs for the cooker.

 

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