Ingredients (for one) – easily multiplied up for more people.

  • 125g beef mince (not too lean)
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes (1 tin for 1-2 people, 2 tins for 3-4 etc)
  • Half an onion
  • 125ml beef stock (half a cube in boiling water)
  • a  pinch of mixed herbs
  • Cooking oil
  • Pasta (or rice)
  • Grated cheese (optional)

Step 1: Put the beef mince in a bowl and mix in the seasoning and herbs with your hands. Make little balls about 3cms diameter as if you were playing with Plasticine.

Step 2: Heat a pan to medium heat and put in a little oil to make to base shiny. Put your meatballs in the pan and after they start sizzling, roll them around by jiggling the pan handle. They should roll around and brown evenly but if you were not capable of making ball shaped balls some may get stuck in position. If so help them out by turning with a spoon. Once they are well browned, take them out and put then on a plate nearby to rest. They don’t need to be cooked right through at this point but should look well browned on the outside.

Step 3: Chop the onion finely (5mm cubes) and cook in the pan you have just been using (assuming you have not carbonised it) until soft. The meat usually adds a bit of extra fat to cook in but if you have been using very lean mince you may have to add an extra glug of oil.

Step 4: Add the tomatoes and stock. Add more salt and pepper and another pinch of herbs. Heat until bubbling then turn down and cook away for 10 minutes.

Step 5: Add the meatballs and cook for a further 10 minutes. If it is drying out add a splash of water. If you have a lid for the pan put it on to keep it moist. At the same time put your pasta/rice of choice on to boil so everything is ready at the same time.

Plate up the pasta first, then the meatballs and sauce over, and top with grated cheese if you wish

Cheats Note: You can get away with using a good quality chilled/fresh tomato sauce instead of making your own, in which case omit step 3 and 4, and use the ready-made sauce instead for step 5. Follow the pack instructions for further heating but give it at least 10 minutes to finish the meatballs.