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Recipe  •  18 April 2023


Pasta and Meatballs

A tasty dish to make with the kids from Jamie Oliver’s first children’s book ‘Billy and the Giant Adventure’

Pasta and meatballs with grated courgette, mushroom, onion and garlic

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Serves 6

Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes, plus cooling and chilling


  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 courgette
  • 6 chestnut mushrooms
  • olive oil
  • 400g lean minced meat– try beef, pork or a mixture
  • 50g wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • 20g Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 x 600g jar of passata
  • 450g dried spaghettia
  • handful of fresh basil leaves



  1. Peel the onion and 2 cloves of garlic. Coarsely grate them on a box grater with the courgette and mushrooms, then tip it all into a large non-stick frying pan on a medium heat with1 tablespoon of oil. Cook for 10 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally. Tip into a bowl and leave to cool.
  2. Add the minced beef, pork and breadcrumbs to the bowl of cooled veg. Finely grate in most of the Parmesan cheese and crack in the egg, then season with a little black pepper. With clean hands, squish and squash the mixture together until it’s all nicely combined. Now wash your hands!
  3. With wet hands, take tablespoons of the mixture and shape into 24 even-sized balls. Place them on a tray, cover and pop in the fridge to firm up for 10 minutes or so. Wash your hands again.
  4. Place a large non-stick frying pan on a medium heat with1 teaspoon of oil. Add the meatballs to the pan and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden and gnarly, turning regularly.
  5. While the meatballs are cooking, peel and finely chop the remaining 2 garlic cloves. Create a little space in the pan between the meatballs, add the garlic for 2 minutes, then pour in the passata.
  6. Give the pan a gentle shake so the balls are evenly coated in the sauce. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce is thick and delicious, stirring occasionally.
  7. About 15 minutes before you’re ready to serve, cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions, then drain and divide between your plates. Spoon over the meatballs and sauce, and top with a few pretty basil leaves.


Go veggie

Replace the meat with lentils to make easy veggie balls. Simply drain 2 x 400g tins of lentils well, pat dry, and add to the mix, chucking in a few extra breadcrumbs if the mixture feels wet.


NUTRITION: 515kcal, 16.7g fat (6g saturated), 27.6g protein, 66.7g carbs, 9.5g sugar, 4.2g fibre, 0.4g salt

Feature Title

Billy and the Giant Adventure
One pinch of adventure, a dash of friendship, a sprinkle of mystery and a HUGE spoonful of magic . . . Jamie Oliver, bestselling author and internationally renowned chef, delivers the perfect recipe for a page-turning children's fiction debut!
Read more

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