It seems a while ago since I last made a dish worthy of inclusion into the Pauper’s pantry, & purely by accident I come across one.

You don’t have to be a financial expert or city bull to know the world has gone mad since the covid 19 pandemic. Food shortages, spiralling inflation, & fuel poverty, to name few. wages frozen whilst hospital waiting lists are at an all time high. Everyone is having to make decisions on where to compromise and make savings in order to survive.

A recent promotion at our local supermarket, the CoOp, was too good to miss. 4 fresh quarter pound burgers and bottles of beer for £3.50 instead of £7.50.

For my “Pauper’s Pantry” I present Italian meatballs in a rustic tomato sauce with pasta. The ingredients are a packet of Burgers, tomato purée, carrots, onion, black pepper garlic, dried or fresh basil or Italian herb mix, cheddar cheese, a tin of chopped tomatoes, pasta, salt and a little balsamic vinegar if you have it.

Preparing the sauce

Sauté the carrots garlic and onion in a saucepan with a little oil. As the onions softens, add tomatoes, herbs, pepper and salt and a low to simmer for about 15 minutes. Then using a stick blender blitz to make a thick sauce.

Simmer your favourite shape of pasta until Al Dente.

For the meatballs

Place the burgers in a bowl with some pepper, Tomato purée and herbs. Knead the meat and combine until you have a mass. Divide out the mix into golf ball size portions. Next great about 80 g of cheddar. Take the cheese and police in the centre of the mince ball and cover. Bake at 200° C until browned serve with the pasta, poring over the sauce, add the meatballs and finish with a sprinkling of herbs and more cheddar. The yield for four burgers approximately is 16 meatballs.

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