Bubbly, cheesy, meatballs... and more

Now before you get stroppy with me, I've been off the blog forever as the PhD has taken over my life. Sorry about that, let's move on.

Thankfully, my lovely pal Tamara (instagram: @tamarapiranha - seriously nip over there now, her poetry and art are brilliant) asked me to send her my go-to meatball recipe that I've developed since my undergrad years (don't ask how long ago that is). It's one of the first dishes I got creative with and I think it's pretty easy, and easy to eat hahaha. OK so I actually don't have photos of this dish, oops, but what I do have is a very close up photo of melty cheese, which you will see, if you keep reading... promise it's worth it!

You'll need:
Dry pasta of your choice (I use linguine)
500g lean steak mince
1 tbsp plain flour
Dry herbs (basil + oregano make a good combo, but Italian seasoning will do just as well) 
1 egg
2 onions, finely chopped (kept in separate containers)
2 x 400g chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp passata
1 bay leaf  
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Good glug of red wine
Salt and pepper
50g Gran Padano, grated (or Parmesan)
50g mild cheddar, grated
Extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed, skins off
2 sticks of celery, diced finely

Method: 
Combine the meat with the egg, herbs, salt and pepper, flour, and onions. Let this rest in the fridge for 20minutes, then shape them into balls, rolling the meat between the centre of your palms. Arrange neatly on a baking tray or any flat dish. Then, heat a good glug of olive oil in a wide pan (careful not to put it on high heat - medium is best). Brown the meatballs, turning once. Remove the meatballs from the pan and set aside. Fill a pan with water, and bring it to a boil. Then, sauté the garlic, onions and celery for 8minutes. You want the veg to really soften but not burn. Then, add the tomatoes, bay leaf, vinegar, and wine. Let this reduce for about 5minutes before adding the meatballs in. The water should be boiling by now - throw in a good amount of salt and cook the pasta al dente. Once you've added the meatballs in, reduce to a low heat and let it simmer for 12minutes, turning the meat once.

Get the grill going (180c), then arrange your meatballs in an oven-proof dish, topping with the rest of the sauce. Layer the cheese, and add more as desired. Set the timer for 2minutes, and whilst the cheese is doing its thing... drain the pasta, leaving a few tablespoons of the starchy water for later (if desired). Plate up and get stuck in!

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Lovely with an ice cold Tiger beer, or Diet Coke, followed by some ice cream :P

Hungry for more,
The Academicook
 

Edit:
A PHOTO OF THE MEATBALL PASTA, PLATED!!! HAHAHAH