Meatballs with Spaghetti


  • 225g lean minced beef
  • 225g minced pork
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablesp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 150g breadcrumbs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablesp. olive oil plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablesp. tomato purée
  • 500ml bottle passata (Italian sieved tomatoes)
  • 500g spaghetti
  • 25g mature hard cheese, finely grated (optional)


Place the minced beef and pork in a bowl with the egg, parsley and breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper and using your hands give everything a good mix.


Using slightly damp hands, make about 18-20 even-sized balls.  Arrange on a flat baking sheet, drizzle over a little olive oil to lightly coat and chill for an hour if time allows.


Heat half the olive oil in a large pan and sauté the onion and celery for about 5 minutes until lightly golden. Stir in the garlic and chilli, if using, and cook for another minute, stirring.  Add the tomato purée and passata and simmer for a few minutes until combined.  Season with salt and pepper.


Heat the rest of the olive oil in a deep-sided frying pan and cook the meatballs for 5-6 minutes until almost cooked through and nicely browned. Pour in the sauce and simmer gently for another 8-10 minutes until reduced and thickened.


Meanwhile, plunge the spaghetti into a large pan of boiling salted water and simmer for 8-10 minutes until tender but still with a little bite, as the Italians say ‘al dente’. Drain well and return to the pan and then add a few ladlefuls of the tomato sauce to coat.


Divide among pasta bowls and spoon the meatballs with the rest of the tomato sauce on top. Scatter over the cheese and a little chopped parsley. 

Serving Suggestions

Serve with a big bowl of green salad.