I think spaghetti with meatballs is one of those cliché meals that everyone thinks of when it comes to Italian food. Personally, it reminds me of that famous scene in Lady and the Tramp (you know exactly what I’m talking about) more than anything. I love meatballs, it was actually the first recipe I posted on this blog way back when and we make them often in our family - my sister rules at making them in fact! We normally just eat them as a main dish without sauce, but I felt it was time to create that cliché meal - and well, if you want to ensure you’re full for the day then this is definitely your go-to!
The beauty with this recipe is that you can make the meatballs and serve as many as you like in the tomato sauce depending on how many are eating, or you can keep some aside as a separate meal. By using 1kg of mince meat, you should get around 40 meatballs, or if you make them even smaller you can probably get even more. This recipe is based on feeding around 6-8 people so you can adjust it accordingly! Furthermore, if you want to avoid the spaghetti, you simply enjoy the meatballs in the tomato sauce with polenta, mash potato or roast vegetables as a main meal. This is also great for batch cooking, with this quantity you can cover at least 2 meals for the family. I love making this batch and sharing it out with family members - I gave some to my Nonna (aka the Queen) and my Mum who are currently in isolation (door step delivery) and also my brother - yes I know I’m too kind. Don’t worry I kept a portion for myself!
I love preparing the tomato sauce first. It gives the sauce time to simmer and for the flavours to infuse. I also don’t put the basil in straight away so it doesn’t overcook and lose its taste. Just keep coming back to it and give it a stir, if you feel it’s reducing a little too much you can pour in an extra splash of water, just keep an eye on the seasoning if you do! I also usually don’t add parmesan to my meatballs as not everyone in my family likes cheese, but it is a lovely addition, but be warned, you may need to reduce the salt as the parmesan also acts as a seasoning.
Be sure to have some crusty fresh bread to scoop up all the sauce as you don’t want that to go to waste!
Spaghetti with Meatballs
Serves: 6-8 people Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 45 minutes Total time: 65 minutes
Tomato Sauce (Sugo) 3 Tbsp Olive oil 1 White onion, sliced 3 Garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 x 400ml Chopped tomatoes 2-3 Tsp Sugar Large handful fresh basil, rinsed 1 Tsp Salt 1/2 Tsp Pepper 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Meatballs (makes around 40 meatballs) 500g Pork mince 500g Beef mince 3 Garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 Egg 50g Breadcrumbs Large handful fresh parsley, chopped 20g Parmesan, optional 1 1/2 Tsp Salt 1/2 Tsp Pepper 3 Tbsp Olive oil
To serve: 500-600g Spaghetti (70g per person), parmesan
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil on a medium heat. Add the onion and sauté on a medium-low heat for 10 minutes until translucent and softened. Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute before adding the chopped tomatoes. Fill both tins with water and add to the pan. Season with 1 Tsp Salt and a good pinch of black pepper and simmer whilst you prepare the meatballs.
Stir occasionally and after 15 minutes check the seasoning and add the basil leaves. If your tomatoes are bitter you may need to add sugar - start with 1 tsp, give it another 5 minutes to dissolve into the sauce then check again. Gradually add more only if required, this will be to taste!
Add all the ingredients for the meatballs except the olive oil in to a mixing bowl. Use your hands to combine everything thoroughly - don’t be shy!
Heat olive oil in a medium frying pan and fry the meatballs in batches for around 4-5 minutes per side. Check one to ensure it isn’t pink inside and then add the batch to the tomato sauce.
Stir to coat all the meatballs in the tomato sauce and allow to simmer for another 5-10 minutes whilst you cook your pasta.
Cook your spaghetti as per packet, and add directly to the tomato sauce using tongs to carefully coat and combine. Serve with lashings of parmesan if desired.