Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Easy midweek dinner: fusilli with meatballs in tomato sauce

Italian pasta recipe

Midweek dinners are often quick and easy meals in our family. As much as I enjoy cooking, I don't want to spend ages every afternoon, preparing an evening meal, especially that most of the time I tend to cook several different dishes for my guys. For the last couple of months our younger son refuses to eat anything but pasta with ketchup for dinner. In fact, not just any pasta. It has to be fusilli. He's a funny guy like that. Last year he used to request plain rice for dinner. Yes, you read it right. Plain basmati rice, without anything else. Then after several months of eating rice for dinner he thankfully got bored with it, so now we're on pasta.
The other day I was reading The Guardian's 10 rules for eating in restaurants with young children and chuckled to myself, as it really sounded very familiar:
"Make sure they serve something familiar. Since I had my baby, my favourite restaurants are the ones that include "Penne in Red Crap" on their kids' menu. I don't care if they've got poor TripAdvisor reviews or are unethical about sharing their tips... All I want is Penne in Red Crap because I know my son will definitely eat Penne in Red Crap".
On our recent trip to Brighton we had dinner in an Italian restaurant Donatello's, and guess what our Eddie wanted? yes, you got it right, he asked for fusilli with ketchup. I told him they only make fusilli with lots of other things in it, so he opted for a safe Margherita pizza. Oh bless those unadventurous eaters!
When we were in Italy for Easter, and our master Eddie asked his Nonna for fusilli with ketchup, I think she was left deeply shocked, though she did go to the local supermarket and found a ketchup for him.

I usually buy the basic supermarket own fusilli for Eddie (his choice, not mine), and I had to beg him to try a different type of fusilli which was delivered with May Degustabox. As it happened, it was an excellent Garofalo pasta. He did one small bite and made a face, as if I offered him a wriggly worm and asked "Could I have my fusilli, please?" sigh, I tried and I failed.
My husband and I though enjoyed this pasta very much, and he even asked for a second helping.

Fusilli with meatballs in tomato sauce
a pack of 4 chorizo burgers
2tbsp olive oil
1 tin of Cirio peeled plum tomatoes
1 clove of garlic
a pinch of dried thyme, basil, pepper
1tbsp ketchup
1tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp honey BBQ glaze (optional)

For the speed of cooking I used a pack of chorizo-flavoured burgers (quite a few supermarkets have their own chorizo burgers) to make the meatballs. Basically break each burger into 6 parts and roll into meatballs, using hands. Heat up 2tbsp of olive oil in a deep pan and brown the meatballs on all sides, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. Add a chopped clove of garlic, and cook for another couple of minutes, then pour in the contents of a tin of peeled plum tomatoes (break/squash the tomatoes with a wooden spoon), dried herbs, a tbsp of ketchup, balsamic vinegar and Jack Daniel's Tennessee honey BBQ glaze. Simmer on low for 25-30 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of water to thin it.
Cook fusilli al dente, as per instructions on the packet, in boiling salted water.
Serve pasta with sauce and meatballs added to it, and add a couple of mini mozzarella balls, or grate some parmesan or Grana Padano.

This is an easy and quick midweek meal, very tasty and flavourful.

If you cannot find Garofalo pasta, use any other fusilli, though the Garofalo pasta is shaped like a corkscrew and looks prettier than the standard fusilli pasta.

I used a tin of Cirio peeled plum tomatoes in my recipe, as it is a quality tomato product, and works perfectly well in many Italian-style recipes. It is a great kitchen staple, which allows you to cook a tasty pasta dish any time you fancy a tomatoey pasta. Actually any tinned tomato product from Cirio would work in this recipe, not just peeled plum tomatoes.

Italian pasta recipe

Disclosure: I received some Cirio products for the purposes of using in recipes on my blog. All opinions are mine.


  1. Oh that looks yummy on this grey and rainy evening!

  2. Wonderful! Your perfect recipe confirms that all genius is simple! Fusilli such a form never seen before, and the title font it rhymes :)

  3. My children are so similar! It has to be the right brand of something or they will turn their noses up at it completely, especially if I've told someone we're visiting that they like something!