Italian sausage polpettina & macaroni bake

This big dish is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser – you can never make too much of this kind of food

Method

  1. Make the white sauce. Melt the butter in a medium pan, then stir in the flour. Keeping the heat high, whisk in the milk and bring to the boil, whisking until smooth and thickened. Season with a good pinch of salt and some pepper, then stir in most of the grated cheese and set aside, with the surface covered with cling film to stop if forming a skin.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based casserole or frying pan, then add the onions and garlic and a real good grind of black pepper and salt. Cook slowly and gently until the onions are soft but not coloured. Take half the mix out and mix with the breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl. Using a slotted spoon, lift the rest of the onions out of the pan, leaving the oil behind, and set aside.
  3. Mix the mince and sausagemeat, chopped parsley and lots of salt and pepper into the breadcrumbs. Mix really well with your hands until the whole thing becomes pasty rather than lumpy. Shape into the size of ping-pong balls, then heat the pan again and brown the Simply serve with a fresh green salad balls in batches in the leftover onion oil. Remove the final batch, then return the reserved onions to the pan with the wine. Bubble over a high heat, scraping the bottom of the pan, then stir in the tomatoes and meatballs. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 mins. Can be made up to 2 days ahead or frozen.
  4. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and boil the macaroni according to pack instructions. Drain well, then mix with the meatball sauce. Tip into the largest ovenproof dish you have. Top with the white sauce (warm it a bit if it is slightly solid), then scatter with the remaining cheese. Bake for 35-40 mins until bubbling and golden.
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