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Linguine with Spicy Meatball Sauce

Who doesn’t love pasta and meatballs?!? This zipped-up version is a completely delicious take on the original: the secret is adding a cinnamon stick, a few whole cloves, and a pinch of red pepper flakes to the sauce! The meatballs are browned first, to give them a crisp coating, then simmered to tenderness. Topped with a bit of fresh basil and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, you’ll want to make this heart-warming dish again and again.

Linguine with Spicy Meatball Sauce

1 lb. ground beef
1 red onion, grated
1 small bunch basil, chopped, divided
2 oz. grated parmesan cheese (1/3 cup), plus more to serve
a handful of breadcrumbs
red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, sliced
2 x 14 oz. tins of chopped tomatoes
3 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 tsp. sugar, any kind
10 oz. linguine, cooked to serve

Put the ground beef in a bowl with half the onion, half the basil, the Parmesan, the breadcrumbs and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season well with salt and pepper, and mix everything together. Using clean hands, shape into small (walnut-size) meatballs. (Dip your hands in a bit of cold water every now and then to make the rolling easier.)

Heat 1 tbs. of olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the meatballs until browned on all sides. Do this in two batches and set aside.

Add the garlic to the pan with a little more olive oil, if it seems dry, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cloves, cinnamon stick, sugar, the remaining half onion, and a pinch more of the red pepper flakes. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the meatballs back into the pan and simmer an addition 10-15 minutes until the meatballs are hot and cooked through and the sauce is thick.

Remove the cloves (if you can find them) and serve over cooked linguine, topped with the remaining chopped basil and some Parmesan cheese.

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