Donal Skehan recipe: Fennel sausage meatball pasta bake

Sat, May 13, 2017, 06:07

  • Serves: 4
  • Cooking Time: 45 mins
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • Serves 4
  • For the meatballs:
  • 450g best quality pork sausage meat
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds, toasted and lightly bashed
  • A good handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • For the spaghetti:
  • 400g spaghetti, broken in half
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 800g passata
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • Softened butter, to grease
  • Pecorino cheese, to serve
  • Basil leaves, to serve
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Don’t knock it until you try it – a pasta bake that can be served straight to the table for a dig-in dinner.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees C. Grease a 40x25cm roasting tin with butter.

Add the spaghetti, passata, cherry tomatoes, chilli flakes and 600ml of water to the roasting tin. Toss to evenly coat.

Combine the ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl and, using damp hands, roll into 20 small meatballs approximately 3cm in diameter. Place them across the tomato spaghetti. Cover tightly with tin foil and place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes, missing halfway through until the pasta is al dente.

Remove the dish from the oven and, using a splash of boiling water, loosen the sauce to the desired thickness. Season generously and garnish with Pecorino cheese shavings and basil leaves.