This is a quick and simple top-of-the-stove casserole. It is important to use really lean mince to make the meat balls. As shop-bought mince tends to be quite fatty, buy a piece of beef and have a butcher mince it, or mince it yourself at home. It is best to buy the minced meat on the day that you are going to use it -never refrigerate it for more than two days. This Italian-style dish goes well with either fresh bread, pasta, potatoes or rice, and a simple green salad.
Preparation time : 30 minutes,
Cooking time : 20 minutes,
Calories per serving: 295
1 lb (450g) lean minced beef
1 medium onion
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
12 oz (350 g) large courgettes
1 large red pepper
4 oz (115 g) large button mushrooms
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
14 oz (400 g) can tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons arrowroot powder
1. Peel and finely chop the onion, then combine all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large mixing bowl, adding 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Shape the meat mixture into 24 balls, pressing each one firmly to hold its shape, then put them to one side.
2. Slice the courgettes. Halve and de-seed the red pepper and cut it into 1 in (25 mm) squares. Clean and slice the button mushrooms.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or in a flameproof casserole with a tightly fitting lid, and brown the meatballs evenly over a medium heat for about 5 minutes.
4. Remove the meatballs from the pan and add the mushrooms to it, frying them quickly for 2 minutes. Return the meatballs to the pan and add the other vegetables, tomatoes and oregano. Gently bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
5. Mix the arrowroot with 1 tablespoon of cold water until smooth, then stir it into the casserole and continue cooking over a moderate heat until the sauce has thickened. Serve immediately.
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