Old Fashioned Meatballs

By old fashioned I mean the classic Italian style meatballs, served with spaghetti and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. This is a recipe I could probably make blindfolded, that’s how often we have it. It’s a winner with everyone. My family love it best with pappardelle, which are much wider than spaghetti. Fettuccine is also good. And use the best quality Italian Parmesan that you can afford.


For the meatballs:

1 kg pork and veal mince

2 tspn sea salt

cracked black pepper, to taste

2 tbspn fennel seeds, crushed in a pestle and mortar

1 tbspn dried basil

2 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped

For the sauce:

3 tbspn olive oil

2 onions, diced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tbspn pesto

1 bottle passata

100 ml dry red wine

1 can quality tomatoes, diced

1 tbspn tomato paste (or concentrate)

1 tspn sugar

sea salt and black pepper, to taste

To serve:

500 g pasta (spaghetti, fettuccine, etc)

Parmesan cheese

1. To prepare the meatballs combine the mince, salt, pepper, herbs, and garlic in a large bowl. Using your hands combine it all well. Shape into small, golf ball sized meatballs, and transfer to a large plate. When you have used all the mince put the plate of meatballs in the fridge while you make the sauce.

2. Heat a large pan or saucepan, large enough for all the meatballs and sauce. Heat the olive oil on a medium heat.

3. Add the onions and fry them gently, for about ten to fifteen minutes, or until they become translucent. Add the garlic and fry for a couple minutes more, before adding the pesto. Stir it through the onions and garlic for a few minutes.

4. Turn the heat up to high, then add the wine. Boil it vigorously for a few minutes, then add the passata and stir through. Add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, and seasonings. When it returns to the boil turn it down to a simmer.

5. Carefully add the meatballs to the sauce, making sure they are all submerged. Leave it to cook gently for half an hour, then very gently stir the sauce, moving the meatballs around so they all cook evenly. Taste the sauce to see if you need to adjust the seasoning. Let it simmer for another half an hour.

6. Cook the pasta in boiling water according to the packet directions. Either spoon some sauce from the meatballs over the cooked pasta, or add the cooked pasta to the pot with the meatballs. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

  1. Every time I read your posts I think that’s what I love to cook! Nothing beats pasta with home-made meatballs.



    1. great minds think alike 😉



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