Spaghetti and meatballs

Recipe by:

A classic, comforting supper, this recipe is rich, easy to make and bursting with herby flavour

Spaghetti and meatballs

SERVES

4

PEOPLE

PREP TIME

15

MINUTES

COOKING TIME

50

MINUTES

CUISINE

Italian

COURSE

Main

Method

  1. First make the meatballs, heat the olive oil in a heavy, stainless-steel saucepan over a gentle heat and add the chopped onions and garlic. Cover and sweat on a gentle heat for 8-10 minutes until soft and slightly golden. Allow to cool.

  2. Soak all the bread crumbs in milk. Put the freshly minced beef into a bowl and breadcrumbs in a bowl. Add the cold sweated onion and garlic, add the herbs (and chilli flakes if using) and the beaten egg. Season the mixture to taste. Fry a tiny bit to check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. Divide the mixture into about 24 round meatballs. Cover and refrigerate while you make your sauce.

  3. Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Heat the oil in a casserole or a stainless-steel saucepan. Add the sliced onion and crushed garlic, toss until coated, cover and sweat over a gentle heat until soft. Add the peeled and chopped tomatoes and chilli flakes, mix and season with salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of sugar (tinned tomatoes take more sweetening). Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, uncover and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes or until thick and unctuous.

  4. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Cook the meatballs for 8-10 minutes turning from time to time. When they are cooked, transfer to an ovenproof serving dish. Add to the hot tomato sauce, turn gently to cover. Pop into a preheated oven at 180°C/gas mark 4. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top or place under a preheated grill to let the cheese melt.

  5. Serve immediately with cooked spaghetti, crusty bread and or just a green salad. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a pan of boiling water. Drain and turn into a hot serving dish. Spoon the meatballs and tomato sauce over the top and dig in!

Ingredients

  • For the meatballs:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

  • 900g freshly minced beef (80% lean)

  • 50g soft breadcrumbs

  • 50ml milk

  • 2-4 tbsp chopped fresh herbs, such as marjoram, or a mixture of parsley, chives and thyme leaves

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • For the tomato sauce:

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 225g onion, peeled and sliced

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled, crushed

  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes

  • a good pinch of crushed chilli flakes (optional)

  • salt

  • black pepper

  • sugar

Method

  1. First make the meatballs, heat the olive oil in a heavy, stainless-steel saucepan over a gentle heat and add the chopped onions and garlic. Cover and sweat on a gentle heat for 8-10 minutes until soft and slightly golden. Allow to cool.

  2. Soak all the bread crumbs in milk. Put the freshly minced beef into a bowl and breadcrumbs in a bowl. Add the cold sweated onion and garlic, add the herbs (and chilli flakes if using) and the beaten egg. Season the mixture to taste. Fry a tiny bit to check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. Divide the mixture into about 24 round meatballs. Cover and refrigerate while you make your sauce.

  3. Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Heat the oil in a casserole or a stainless-steel saucepan. Add the sliced onion and crushed garlic, toss until coated, cover and sweat over a gentle heat until soft. Add the peeled and chopped tomatoes and chilli flakes, mix and season with salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of sugar (tinned tomatoes take more sweetening). Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, uncover and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes or until thick and unctuous.

  4. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Cook the meatballs for 8-10 minutes turning from time to time. When they are cooked, transfer to an ovenproof serving dish. Add to the hot tomato sauce, turn gently to cover. Pop into a preheated oven at 180°C/gas mark 4. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top or place under a preheated grill to let the cheese melt.

  5. Serve immediately with cooked spaghetti, crusty bread and or just a green salad. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a pan of boiling water. Drain and turn into a hot serving dish. Spoon the meatballs and tomato sauce over the top and dig in!