1. For the pesto: Place the pine nuts in a dry frying pan set over a medium heat. Toast until golden and aromatic before tipping half of them into a food processor. Reserve the remainder for serving.
2. Add the basil leaves, Parmesan, and half of the olive oil. Pulse until broken down and coarse.
3. Blend on high, pouring in the remaining olive oil, until the pesto comes together. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and some lemon juice. Cover and chill until needed.
4. For the sauce: Preheat the oven to 190°C (170° fan) | 375F | gas 5.
5. Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof frying pan set over a medium heat until hot. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds until just starting to colour.
6. Stir in the cherry tomatoes, passata, a splash of water, a pinch of sugar, and some salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the simmer before transferring the pan to the oven.
7. Roast for 20-25 minutes until the sauce is thickened and the cherry tomatoes have collapsed.
8. For the meatballs: In the meantime, scrunch together the beef mince with the dried herbs, 1 tsp salt, and 0.5 tsp freshly ground black pepper in a mixing bowl.
9. Divide and shape into golf ball-sized meatballs. Arrange on a roasting tray and bake alongside the sauce for 25 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking, until golden-brown.
10. Remove the sauce and meatballs from the oven when ready. Cover meatballs loosely with aluminium foil. Adjust seasoning of sauce with salt and pepper, as needed.
11. To serve: Cook the spaghetti in a large saucepan of salted, boiling water until 'al dente, ' about 8-10 minutes.
12. Drain well and transfer to a serving pan or dish. Top with the sauce, meatballs, prepared pesto, and a garnish of mint leaves before serving.
1 Hour 10 Minutes
- 120 g | 1 cup pine nuts
- 1 large bunch basil, leaves only, washed
- 75 g | 2/3 cup Parmesan, grated
- 150 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 - 2 tbsp lemon juice
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 450 g | 3 cups cherry tomatoes, on the vine, picked and halved
- 250 g | 1 cup passata
- 1 pinch sugar
- 600 g | 4 cups beef mince, at least 20% fat
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 500 g spaghetti
- 1 handful purple mint leaves
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