Melting Meatball Macaroni



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.

Credit: Cassie Best


Prep time: 20 Minutes

Cook time: 30 Minutes

Serves: 6

  • 300g pork mince

  • 400g beef mince (with around 10% fat)

  • ½ tsp fennel seeds

  • ½ tsp chilli flakes

  • 2 tsp dried oregano

  • 200g taleggio or mozzarella, chopped into small chunks

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 large onion , finely chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 2 tsp tomato purée

  • 50ml red wine

  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes

  • 500ml passata

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 2 tsp golden caster sugar

  • 400g macaroni or other pasta shape

  • Crusty bread, to serve (optional)