Sausage Meatball Pasta with Balsamic Vinegar

This is a simple recipe that always goes down well with all of our family. At the end of the day it is just pasta and sauce with sausages but we do try to dress it up a bit. We mix up the pasta we use, we squeeze the sausages out to make meatballs and we add balsamic vinegar which gives the dish depth of flavour. For me the balsamic is the key. If anything I am cooking is missing something in the flavour department then it can usually be solved by adding either salt, oil or vinegar. When it comes to anything tomato based it is always the vinegar that I reach for first. It reduces down and adds a really rich flavour. We always mix up the pasta too and use at least two different types in the dish. When we shop, we let the kids choose what pastas to buy. These days there is a huge variety of shapes and colours and even these slight involvements in the food process can help solidify our kids’ positive relationship with food and no one wants to be in a situation where their child only eats ‘curly’ pasta!

So how do we make it?

Serves 4

Ingredients…. (which are pretty flexible to say the least):

1 tbsp grease (olive oil, ghee, etc)
1 Onion (red, white or a bunch or spring)
2 cloves of garlic (or a dollop of garlic paste)
One handful of chopped / small veg (carrots, broccoli, peas, sweetcorn, etc)
8-12 Sausages (depending on how many you would usually feed your family)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
300-400g of pasta **more if fresh**
Fresh parmesan and basil to top

1. Boil a large pan of water and cook your pasta as per the instruction on the packet. Most pastas will take 8-12 minutes which should be about how long the sausage sauce taken to prepare. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and leave to stand until required at stage 8. It doesn’t matter if the pasta starts to cool, it will be reintroduced to hot sauce!

2. In a large frying pan, fry the onions and garlic in the oil until the onions start to soften.

3. Whilst the onions are cooking, squeeze the meat out of the sausages into balls, you should get three balls per sausage. Bin the skins.

4. Add the sausages to the pan and cook until they start to get some colour.

5. Add the chopped veg and continue to cook until there is some colour on the veg too.

6. Add the balsamic vinegar and turn everything over in the pan until the balsamic has reduced to almost nothing.

7. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 4-5 minutes (or until your pasta is cooked).

8. Add your drained pasta into the large frying pan and turn through the sausages and sauce.

9. Serve and top with freshly grated or shaved parmesan and fresh basil.

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