Meatballs in Spaghetti                    Feb 2018

It is said pasta with meatballs was invented in America and is not a part of Italian food tradition. We all remember the meatballs in the Disney cartoon  Lady and the Tramp or Clemenza cooking meatballs in the Godfather.

Wherever it was invented we have been eating and enjoying meatballs with pasta for more years than I can remember, in Italy, England and the USA. It’s a fantastic family meal, like an enormous hug from a favourite uncle or finding a tenner (£10) in the pocket of an old pair of trousers.

It's easy to make and can be cooked in advance (tastes even better the next day) and is a good inexpensive delicious meal.


For 6 people you will need:

     1 kg of fresh tomatoes plum, or 2x400g tins of Italian tomatoes

     110g  1/4lb butter

     Sea Salt

     Half a teaspoon of sugar

     An onion cut in half

How to make: 

Wash the tomatoes in cold water cut them up, cook in a large saucepan with the lid on for 10 to 12 minuets.

Once cooked pass through a moult-legumes or a fine sieve to remove the tomatoes skin and seeds. Return to the pan add  add the butter, salt, onion, and sugar and cook for 40 minuets at a low heat. 

Check seasoning. then take out the two half onions and throw them away.

You can use Italian tined tomatoes, use 2x400g tins you don’t need to cook them first.

The meatballs

  •     100g fresh breadcrumbs with no crust
  •     100ml whole milk
  •     250g minced beef 
  •     250g minced pork
  •     120g finely grated Parmesan cheese
  •      40g cup chopped parsley
  •      1 teaspoon sea salt
  •     1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  •     2 large eggs
  •      2 large garlic cloves finely chopped
  •     500g spaghetti
  •     Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (for serving)

How to make Meatballs:

Mix the breadcrumbs and milk stir until breadcrumbs are evenly soaked  set to one side.

Put the beef and pork in large bowl add the Parmesan, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper. Whisk the eggs and add to meat mixture.

Squeeze milk from the breadcrumbsand add them to meat. Using your hands, mix until all ingredients are evenly combined (do not overmix). It is then best to chill mixture at least 15 minutes.

Wet your hands then roll meat mixture between palms into golf-ball-size balls, place the balls in a pot big enough to contain the sauce and the meat balls arranged in a single layer. 

Bring to the sauce to a simmer and cook until meatballs are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes should do it.

(You can make this dish up to two days ahead, just let them cool then refriderate, warm slowly when needed.)

Cook spaghetti in large pot of boiling salted water following the instructions on the pack.

Transfer meatballs to platter. Add pasta to sauce in pot and toss to coat. 

Divide pasta among the plates and top each serving with meatballs. 

Sprinkle the meatballs with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

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Return to Recipes:

Clemenza cooking  meatballs in the Godfather.

Disney cartoon  Lady and the Tramp.