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When you’re Food Optimising, there are so many fantastic Free Foods to enjoy – and filling carbs like pasta are definitely on the list! To celebrate these superstar staples – and to show off on our new Passion for Pasta (and Noodles!) cookbook – we’ve put a tasty twist on classic meatballs and pasta. Combining the tastes of the Mediterranean with the spicy flavours of North Africa, Slimming World’s meatball pasta bake is next-level comfort food.

We’ll let you know how you can get your hands on a copy of Slimming World’s Passion for Pasta (and Noodles!) further down the post, but first we want to hand over to Slimming World’s cookbook editor, Olly, to tell you more about the fabulous recipes you’ll find inside – and why our meatball pasta bake will be your new family favourite.

“We’re always trying to dream up cookbook ideas that our members will love and that will inspire them to discover the joys of cooking – and this book ticks so many boxes! Dried pasta and noodles are Free and quick to cook, so they’re perfect for making easy filling meals that pack a lot of flavour with minimum fuss. Plus, they’re relatively cheap and will keep in your cupboard for ages, which means you’ll always have a staple on standby.

What we also wanted to show in this book was how versatile pasta and noodles can be. We’ve included lots of classics with tasty twists (like lentilognese and cheese triangle carbonara) as well as deliciously inventive new recipes that add a bit of fun and blur some of the usual rules, like roast chicken dinner noodles and all-day breakfast pasta.

The meatball pasta bake showcases everything that’s great about the new book. It’s a really satisfying family meal that’s surprisingly easy to put together – and the colours and flavours are sensational.”

Slimming World meatball pasta bake

serves 4
1½ Syns per serving
ready in 50 minutes

What you need:

1 small onion, roughly chopped
500g lean beef mince (5% fat or less)
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
1 level tsp Dijon mustard
1 medium egg
2 large courgettes, grated
low-calorie cooking spray
400g can chopped tomatoes
900ml hot beef stock
1 level tbsp rose harissa paste
400g dried penne pasta
50g reduced-fat feta cheese 
chopped fresh parsley, to serve

What you do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200˚C/fan 180˚C/gas 6.
  2. Put the onion in your food processor and whizz until finely chopped. Put half of the puréed onion in a bowl and set aside. Add the beef to the onion left in the food processor along with the dried herbs, mustard, egg, half the courgettes and a little salt and pepper. Whizz until combined then transfer to a bowl, divide into 20 portions and shape into meatballs.
  3. Spray a wide non-stick frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a high heat. Add the meatballs and cook in batches for 1-2 minutes or until browned all over, turning them occasionally (they won’t be cooked through yet). Transfer to a plate.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and fry the remaining onion and courgettes for 2-3 minutes or until softened, stirring often. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, stock and harissa and bring to the boil.
  5. Stir the pasta into the tomato sauce, then carefully pour into a large roasting tin, about 35cm x 24cm. Top with the meatballs, cover with kitchen foil and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and the pasta is just cooked but has a little bite (‘al dente’).
  6. Evenly crumble over the feta, sprinkle with the parsley and serve hot with salad or Speed vegetables.

Slimming World’s Passion for Pasta (and Noodles!) cookbook

This delicious meatball pasta bake is just one of the incredible recipes in our new Passion for Pasta (and Noodles!) cookbook. Packed with more than 60 fresh dishes – from a five-spice pork ramen bowl to zesty salmon pasta – this essential cookbook is all you need to transform pasta and noodles into delicious and super-slimming meals. Slimming World members can buy a copy now on our members-only websites for £4.95/€7.95.

Passion for pasta and noodles - Slimming World Blog

Looking for more mealtime inspiration? You’ll find loads of healthy recipe ideas in a My Slimming World Virtual Group or our friendly Online Community. When you join Slimming World, You’ll also get access to over 1,000 slimming-friendly recipes, our gorgeous collection of cookbooks and a handy Food Search tool to help you achieve weight loss success without ever going hungry.

Are you a pasta master or a noodle ninja? Send us your foodie pics (or share on social using #theSlimmingWorldblog), and let us know which recipes you’re enjoying from the new Passion for Pasta (and Noodles!) recipe book.

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