And it did! When our youngest glimpsed into the pot, he looked up super impressed! We eat meatballs, I have three different recipes for them I love. But it was the first time he ate meatballs that were cooked WITH the spaghetti. I guess, after ditching many carbs during a health kick for Heatley and I, he was just delighted to see pasta! After he consumed two huge bowls of it, he said it was the best ‘guinea pig’ recipe, (newly tried from the CAMPS AUSTRALIA WIDE COMMUNITY COOKBOOK) yet.
In our COVID lockdown, we cooked this on the stove top in a large saucepan/stockpot. Remember, most recipes in the cookbook are transferable to a regular kitchen or BBQ.
Contributed by Michael Comerford who says, “this is a bit of a crowd pleaser – dead easy to pull together at the end of the day in a camp oven with easy to carry ingredients. It can be scaled up or down based on your camp oven capacity – this works well in a small to mid sized camp oven. Increase cooking time if using larger ovens/doubled ingredients. Feeds 4 – 6 comfortably. Can also be cooked on top of a Bush Pig / Wooshka, but will take a little longer.”
- 1 can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 cube beef or chicken stock (or one cup of prepared liquid stock)
- 500 g beef mince (can substitute with chicken, pork, or lamb mince, or even sausages)
- 1 packet of dry spaghetti
- Mixed herbs (optional)
- Minced or granulated garlic, about a teaspoon or to taste (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Oil (olive, spray oil, or whatever your preference is)
- Place the camp oven (lid on) in the coals of the fire to preheat it for 5-10 minutes (depending on your fire). No need to put coals on top.
- While the camp oven is heating, form the mince into small balls – around 3 cm across is good, but they should all be of a similar size. Not too big or they will take too long to cook through!
- In the heated camp oven, drizzle a little oil in the bottom, then roughly half fill the base with the mince balls. Brown the mince balls all over, remove and repeat until all the balls have been browned. If using sausages, brown the sausages in the same way. You’re not trying to cook them through, just seal the balls/sausages before the main cooking.
- Empty the can of crushed tomatoes, a cup of stock (or a cup of water plus a crushed stock cube) into the camp oven, and combine.
- Add in the meat balls (if using sausages, cut them into 2 – 3cm pieces before adding in). Mix well, but gently so as not to break the balls up.
- Break the dry spaghetti at least in half, and add to the camp oven, ensuring that it is all submerged in the liquid – it’s ok if some of the meat is above the liquid level.
- Add mixed herbs and/or garlic to taste.
- Cover and place the oven at the edge of the fire, with some hot coals on the lid.
- Cook for around 20 mins, rotating the camp oven every 5 mins or so if it’s near the edge of the fire/coals to ensure a more even heat distribution. Ensure that live coals are kept on the top throughout.
- A gentle stir and check after ten minutes to make sure all the spaghetti is in contact with liquid. The liquid level will drop as it’s being taken into the spaghetti.
- If the liquid seems too low, often seen with spaghetti sitting dry and hard on the surface, mix up another cup of stock and add it a little at a time every few minutes and stir through – you don’t want this to be a very “wet” meal.
- Test the spaghetti every few minutes after 15 minutes cooking, keep cooking until it reaches your preferred level of “cooked” – I’ve never had it in for more than 20 minutes, but it depends a lot on how good your hot coals are.
- Serve with either grated cheese or a dollop of sour cream – whatever is to hand!