Spaghetti with Meatballs & Marinara Sauce

Growing up in a melting pot of cultures is at times difficult, but the exposure to the different languages, beliefs, ideologies and, of course, cuisines, is always enriching and often a breathtaking experience. Among the many aforementioned differences, one of the closest to my heart is this warm, happy spaghetti that was taught to me by one of my closest friends.

This recipe for spaghetti with chicken meatballs, smothered in a gorgeous marinara sauce, is honestly one of the most comforting meals you could make, and with relatively less effort.

P.S.: The spiciness in this recipe has been tweaked up, just to suit the dragon in us. Feel free to adjust according to taste.

To cook the spaghetti:
Spaghetti - 2 packages
Olive oil - 1 TBSP.
Salt - 1 tsp.

In a pot, bring about 1 liter of water to a boil. Add the salt and olive oil and stir well, then add the spaghetti. Once cooked, drain into a colander under running water. This will prevent the spaghetti from sticking to each other.

For the meatballs:
Ground chicken - 500 g
Rosemary, Thyme and Basil - 1/4th tsp. each
Garlic - 1/2 a pod, finely minced
Worcestershire sauce - 2 tsp.
Chilli powder - 2 tsp.
Egg - 1, lightly whisked
Breadcrumbs - as required to make firm dough
Salt - to taste
Pepper - to taste
Butter - 1/2 TBSP

In a bowl, combine all ingredients, adjusting the breadcrumbs until you get a dough that can be rolled into lemon-sized balls.
In a non-stick pan, melt the butter, and place the meatballs on the heated pan, then turn the heat to medium. Let it sear for a minute. Cover with a lid and lower the flame to allow the insides to cook for a minute. Turn over the meatballs and cook till golden brown. Remove onto a paper towel.

Just look at this juicy, meaty goodness sizzling away! :D

For the marinara sauce:
Ground chicken - 500 g
Ripe tomatoes - 5 large or 7 small
Green chillies - 2
Onions - 2, diced finely
Garlic - 1/2 a pod, chopped finely
Capsicum - 1, diced finely
Button mushrooms - 10, diced
Dried Oregano - 1 tsp.
Dried Rosemary - 1 tsp.
Dried Basil - 1 tsp.
Salt & Pepper - to taste
Chilli powder - 1 TBSP. + 1 TBSP non-spicy variety for colour
Olive oil - 1 TBSP.
Sausages - chopped (optional)
Parmesan cheese - a small handful (chopped)
Mozzarella cheese - as needed

In the non-stick pan, flatten out the ground chicken and sprinkle a little salt and pepper over it. Cover and let cook. Remove onto a plate. Fry the sausages in the same pan and set aside.

In a non-stick pot, on medium heat, add the olive oil, then toss in the onions, garlic, capsicum, and mushrooms. while it is sauteing, quarter the tomatoes and add them into a blender, along with the two chillies. Add just enough water to blend this to a smooth paste. Once the onions turn translucent, add in the tomato paste, along with the oregano, rosemary, basil, salt and pepper. On medium heat, allow this mixture to cook. Once cooked, remove a large ladle of the sauce and blend. Add this to the pot, and combine well. This will add more thickness to the sauce. Add the cooked chicken and the sausages. Let the sauce simmer over low heat till thick and no water can be seen on the edges.

Serving: Place a heap of spaghetti on a plate (Or in a bowl, if you're a rustic creature like me). Nestle a few meatballs in the spaghetti, smother with sauce, sprinkle a generous amount of parmesan and/or mozarella (When is cheese ever too much, amirite? :P ). Serve hot hot hot!

(For the sauce, you may substitute ground chicken with finely minced or chopped chicken)