Thursday 17 October 2013

Spaghetti with Meatballs Recipe

Here is a classic American recipe for an Italianate dish of spaghetti served with minced meat, onion and bread meatballs flavoured with Parmesan cheese in a tomato-based sauce.

This is one of the classic American dishes, and though many think it's traditionally Italian (and yes, it did originate with the Italian immigrant community in America) you will not see this dish (at least in this form) served anywhere in Italy.

Don't get me wrong, I love this dish and I prepare it often, though for my family, the addition of a couple of Scotch bonnets or Habanero chillies, finely chopped, to the meatball mixture is a must.

Here, though, I am giving the recipe in its basic, unadulterated, form... enjoy...

Spaghetti with Meatballs

Serves: 4
A bowl of spaghetti served topped with meatballs in a tomato sauce and garnished with fresh flat-leaf parsley


400g (1 lb, scant) minced (ground) beef or pork
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
5 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, freshly chopped
3 tbsp finely-grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
2 slices white bread
3 tbsp milk
5 tbsp olive oil
3 x 400g (14 oz) tins plum tomatoes
1 tbsp unsalted butter
400g spaghetti


For the meatballs, combine the meat, onion, egg and most of the garlic, parsley, Parmesan cheese and the salt and black pepper in a bowl. Mix gently then set aside.

In the meantime, place the bread in a small bowl and pour over the milk. Allow to soak for 10 minutes then break the bread up into small pieces and add to the bowl with the meat.

Mix the ingredients with your hands then take pieces of the mixture and roll into 5cm balls. Place these on a baking tray lined with aluminium foil. Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 200ºC (400ºF, Gas Mark 6) and bake for about 15 minutes. Half way through give the meatballs a shake to prevent them from sticking.

Remove from the oven and set aside.

For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the remaining garlic and fry for about 1 minute or until just beginning to colour. Add the tomatoes and break them up with a spoon as they heat. Season to taste then bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the butter and the meatballs and bring back to a simmer. Allow the mixture to cook gently as you prepare the spaghetti.

Bring a pan of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for about 8 minutes or until al dente (about 8 minutes). Drain and add to the pan with the sauce. Stir to combine and to coat the pasta in the sauce.

Serve spooned onto plates and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

For traditional Italian recipes, why not visit the Celtnet Italian recipes pages?

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