We both enjoy tucking into the odd bowl of pasta during the week and while the Dolmio pepperoni stir in sauce was a firm favourite of Nial’s in his uni days, these days we like to make our own sauces from scratch. All the ingredients you need to make a great pasta sauce are readily available in supermarkets with tinned tomatoes being a favourite of ours and a great base for any tomato based pasta sauce – you can never have too many in your cupboard. While looking for sauce ideas online, we recently came across a company called UFUUD, an Italian based company who produce a range of great traditional Italian food and drink. We ordered some Italian products online and got to work creating our own meatball and tagliatelle dinner from scratch – here’s how we did it.
For the pasta
- 4 medium eggs
- 400g (14oz) Italian ’00’ flour
For the meatballs
- 900g (2lb) minced beef
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp chopped rosemary
- salt and pepper
- 1 egg, beaten (to bind)
For the tomato sauce
- 300g Ursini classic spaccatella tomatoes (if you don’t have this just use extra chopped tomatoes)
- 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- salt and pepper to season
Cooking and preparation time: 1 hour prep and 30 mins cooking
Serves: 6 people
1. Make your tagliatelle pasta
The first step to this dish is to make your tagliatelle pasta. For this you will need a pasta machine. Begin by putting the flour on a board and make a well in the centre. Crack the eggs into this well and beat with a fork until smooth. Using your hands, mix the eggs and flour together incorporating a little at a time. It will take a little bit of time but the mix should come together to make a dough.
Roll into a ball begin to knead the pasta. You knead the pasta to help develop the gluten. To knead the dough you need to work it by stretching and squashing it until the dough is silky smooth. This will take a few minutes. Once this has been achieved, create a ball shape from the dough and pop into a bowl, covering with cling film. Put the dough into the fridge for 30 minutes before using. At this point you begin to make your meatballs.
2. Make your beef meatballs
This is a simple enough process in which you put all of your meatball ingredients into a bowl and start to mix through with your hands. Once combined take small amounts of the meat mix and roll into small balls. Place these onto a tray until you are ready to make your sauce.
3. Make your tomato sauce
Put the meatballs into a large frying pan and begin to cook on a medium heat until nicely coloured on the outside. Add the ingredients for your sauce and stir with the meatballs. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. The sauce should reduce and the flavours intensify. While your sauce is cooking, start to work on your pasta.
4. Rolling out your tagliatelle
Boil a kettle of water before beginning to get your tagliatelle ready as the cooking time for this pasta is minimal. Dust your work surface with flour and take a third of the mixture and roll into one long piece. Set the pasta machine to the widest setting and begin to roll the pasta dough through it. Ensure that your pasta machine is fixed securely to a table or worktop. Flour the pasta if it begins to stick at any stage. Once the pasta is through the machine, fold it in half and put through the machine again at the widest setting. Repeat this again on a few more occasions and then begin to roll the pasta through at lower settings, dropping a setting with each roll until you get to a suitable thickness for tagliatelle (roughly the thickness of a beer mat).
At this point you need to change the functionality of your pasta machine to allow you to cut your pasta dough into tagliatelle strips. All you do here is simply roll the dough through the machine allowing it to separate it into tagliatelle pieces. Place your tagliatelle pieces into a bowl and get ready to boil. Pasta dries out very quickly so lay a damp tea towel over the bowl while you wait for your water to come to the boil.
5. Cooking your tagliatelle
Bring water in a large pot to the boil (add from a kettle for quicker result) and then add your tagliatelle pasta. Cook the pasta for about 3 – 4 minutes or until it begins to float to the top. Remove the pasta at this stage and drain. Set aside and finish your sauce before serving.
6. Serve and enjoy
Finish your sauce by stirring and tasting to ensure you are happy with the consistency and flavours. Place your tagliatelle pasta into a bowl and spoon on the meatball sauce mix. Serve with freshly chopped basil leaves and some parmesan cheese.
An alternative to making a fresh sauce is to buy a quality Italian sauce like Maida Vastola Basil Sauce from UFFUD. If making your own pasta sounds like too much work or you don’t have a pasta machine, just buy fresh pasta from your local supermarket.