Normally recipes are made with "meat balls and spaghetti", and as I rarely eat red meat, I have made this meal using tinned tuna.
The vegetables are virtually hidden in the sauce, as I chopped them very finely because I was having one of my grandchildren for lunch, and he does not eat vegetables if he can see them! You could blitz the sauce if you have very fussy eaters, and then it virtually becomes a tomato sauce.
The longest part of this recipe was taking out the tomato skins as I used tomatoes from my garden, and they are mini Romas. It would be much quicker if you use ordinary sized tomatoes.
I also used garlic chives as I have these growing in my garden, and I made a salad to go with the meal.
Ingredients For the vegetable sauce 600 g tomatoes
1 stick celery, chopped very finely
1 -2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped very finely
¾ carrot, chopped very finely
1 onion, chopped finely (I used a purple one)
4 garlic chives (optional)
Dash of red wine
Sachet of tomato puree
Bit of sugar to taste
For the tuna balls 225 g can tuna in oil, drained slightly
25 g breadcrumbs
2 - 3 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp pine nuts
Zest of ½ lemon
100 g spaghetti (or more if you like a lot of pasta)
For the cashew salad 1 stick celery, chopped
1 small apple, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 spring onion, sliced
Handful of cashews
Method For the vegetable sauce
Cut up the tomatoes. If using large ones, score them, dip them in boiling water for a few seconds, and then the skins will peel off.
Fry the onion and garlic in hot oil until onion is transparent.
Add the finely chopped carrot and celery and cook for about 8 minutes.
Add a splash of wine and the tomatoes, and stir.
Add the tomato paste, parsley, and garlic chives.
Cook for about 1 - 2 hours on a very low heat. If you are in a hurry, it can be cooked for less time on a slightly higher flame, however I like to cook this type of vegetable sauce on a low flame for a long time.
I read that it is done when it turns slightly orange
Take out the obvious tomato skins if you have not already done so, and discard them.
If the children or adults are really fussy about not liking vegetables, blitz them so it looks like a tomato sauce.
For the tuna balls and spaghetti
Put the tuna in a bowl and add the breadcrumbs.
Mix and then add the parsley, pine nuts, lemon rind, and the egg.
Mix well and season with salt and pepper if desired.
With wet hands, form this mixture into small balls, about the size of an unshelled walnut.
I then put them in the fridge for about 30 minutes as the vegetable sauce was still cooking, however if doing the shorter version, this is not necessary.
Heat some oil in a heavy frying pan on medium heat. Cook the tuna balls, turning often. This will take about ten minutes till they are brown.
Meanwhile boil the spaghetti as per packet instructions.
For the salad Mix all the ingredients and add a dressing -I used wasabi mayonnaise and a bit of oil and vinegar.
Mix the vegetable sauce, and the cooked tuna balls.
Put the spaghetti on to serving plates, and top with the meat balls and sauce.