Now, influenced by the alarming ease in which the dogs of Lady & The Tramp earn themselves a free pasta meal, we've tried lurking around the back of restaurants a few too many times.
Sadly, being human is sort of a deal-breaker in these sorts of situations and we've gone hungry time and time again.
Preparation time: 30 minutes and half an hour to leave your meatball mix to rest
Cooking time: 45 minutes to 1 and a half hours (depending upon the size of the meatballs)
Ceramic or Pyrex oven proof dish
Heavy bottomed medium sized pan
Large frying pan
Large mixing bowl
500g Minced shoulder of English Rose veal or a mixture of beef and pork mince in a 50/50 ratio.
1 x bunch curly parsley (chopped)
100g parmesan (grated on a fine grater)
130g bread crumbs
150ml rapeseed oil
3 x onions (roughly diced)
3 x cloves of garlic (crushed/pureed)
1 x tbsp tomato puree
200ml brown chicken stock
1 x tsp picked thyme
1 x lemon (zest and juice)
2 x pinches of salt
Good grind of black pepper
2 x medium free range eggs (beaten)
250gm fresh vine tomatoes (diced) or the equivalent weight of good quality tinned tomatoes
1 x tsp Worchester sauce
Fresh egg spaghetti.
Place a pan onto a medium heat and add the oil, onions and salt, stir and cover with a lid. Cook for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally until very soft and sweet, then add the garlic and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
Remove half of this mix and spread out onto a plate to cool slightly.
Add the tomato puree to the pan with the remaining half of the onions and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring.
Add the tomatoes, Worcester sauce and the stock. Bring to the boil and season to taste with salt and pepper, before turning down to a simmer.
Take the veal or beef and pork mince and add the cooled onions, thyme, lemon zest and juice, parmesan, chopped parsley, eggs, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Mix well in a large bowl and leave to rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Roll the mince mix into meatballs, as big or as little as you want. Pre heat your over to 150°C, place a large frying pan onto a high heat and add a little rapeseed oil.
Fry the meatballs until golden brown then remove from the pan and keep to one side. Discard the fat in the frying pan, put back onto the heat and add half a cup of water to the pan to remove all of the caramelised juices left on the bottom, add this to your sauce.
Place all of the meatballs and the tomato sauce into your oven proof dish, cover with a lid or tin foil and put into the oven. Cook for 45 minutes or a little more if needed.
Enjoy with spaghetti and your loved ones.
Dave Watts is head chef at the Cotswold House Hotel. Rooms start from just £120 per person, with main courses at The Cotswold Grill ranging from £9.50 to £23.00. The Dining Room (fine dining restaurant) reopened in May. For further information, hotel and restaurant reservations, visit www.cotswoldhouse.com or call 01386 840330.
(Images: All Star)