The Virgin Stove

Making everything for the first time

Creamy Farfalle with IKEA Meatballs

Until recently, I didn’t know that the ribbon-shaped pasta is called farfalle. Apparently, the word is from the Italian farfalla, which means “butterfly”. I used to skip recipes with fancy-sounding names since I figured that if I can’t pronounce it, then I probably can’t cook it. At least now, I no longer feel ignorant in case someone mentions farfalle. Hah.

Have you ever opened your fridge and asked for inspiration because you have absolutely no idea what you want to cook today? That’s what I did when I got home from work.

A while back, I picked up a pack of Swedish meatballs from IKEA – the same kind they serve in that cute cafe of theirs (I only go there for the salmon). There was still 1/3 of the pack in the fridge so I decided to use it. Then I remembered Tita Dina’s creamy carbonara from two weeks back so I grabbed the can of Nestle cream that I was originally saving for something else.

I tried to imagine the kind of basic sauce that I like. There’s the token butter and tomatoes. But what I really focused on was the flavor. In this case, lots of garlic, onions and black pepper equaled yummy. This means sautéing the chopped onion and garlic until the onion is translucent and faintly brown and the edges of the garlic pieces are crisp. The butter is also integral. Don’t you DARE skip the butter! If you’re on a diet, go graze on the front lawn as this isn’t the recipe for you.

I’m a mushroom addict so I added that as well. They’ll go nicely with the meatballs.

Please don’t judge the pictures. 🙂 Apartment #1’s kitchen lighting is awful and unless I cook at broad daylight and open all doors and windows, everything I shoot will end up looking like I cooked them while moonlighting at a seedy bar.

A special note on the black pepper: The packaged powder labeled pre-ground black pepper is not black pepper. Ok, maybe 30% of it actually is. But if you love your taste buds and the rest of your family’s, then please don’t subject yourselves to that unrecognizable stuff. Buy a pepper mill and fill it with real black peppercorns. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just functional. If you’re already in IKEA buying the meatballs, you may as well pick up their cheap but serviceable 365+ spice mill ($6.99).

So how was the farfalle? (I’m still practicing saying it so I can impress the waiter next time.) It’s pretty good. 🙂 Now excuse me, I’m just going to do the dishes while you read the recipe.



1 packet (400 g) of farfalle pasta
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1/3 pack (350 g) of IKEA Swedish meatballs
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 heads of garlic, chopped
1/3 stick (30 g) of butter
1 can (227 g drained) of sliced crimini mushrooms
1 can (400 g) of whole tomatoes (in tomato juice)
1 can (170 g) of cream
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves


  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Make sure they are al dente. Test every few minutes by fishing one out with a fork. If you can bite through it easily, then it’s cooked. Drain and set aside.
  • Pour the olive oil into a casserole pan over low heat. As soon as the oil heats up, fry the meatballs, turning them every few minutes to make sure that all sides are cooked. Take them out of the pan and set aside.
  • Using the oil that’s left on the pan, sauté the onion and garlic. When the onion pieces are translucent and both the onion and garlic are faintly brown, add the butter. Increase the heat to medium.
  • When the butter melts, add the mushroom and stir fry for a minute. Using a spatula, spread the mushroom over the bottom of the pan until it covers the surface area. Rest the cooked meatballs over the mushroom as the latter cooks. Do not stir.
  • While the mushroom is cooking, combine the canned tomato, juice and all, with the cream in a bowl. Using your spatula or a potato masher, squish the tomatoes into little pieces. Be careful because you might stain your shirt. After squishing, mix well with the cream.
  • Pour the tomato mixture into the pan and stir. Bring to boil and continue to stir, until the cream dissolves completely. Add the salt, black pepper and basil. I personally prefer to have lots of black pepper so I added more than the 2 teaspoons specified. Remove the pan from heat.
  • Top a bowl full of farfalle with the meatball sauce and serve with grated parmesan. Enjoy.

One response to “Creamy Farfalle with IKEA Meatballs

  1. Pingback: Oatmeal Meatball Pasta « The Virgin Stove

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