Pasta with meatballs in tomato sauce

The best comfort meal for me? After my beloved minestrone it can only be spaghetti with meatballs.

Little sis Laura made this dish and we ate it for lunch with our cousin Daniela who came over from London to visit us. It felt great meeting up!

Blood relations can feel so powerful, they are just different to friendships, there is that history you share together and memories imprinted on your DNA. They say our genes can carry the memory of all our past generations as well and I believe in that. It makes sense, don’t you think?

We ended up having a little too much wine but great fun. We laughed a lot and the wine, a light and fragrant table wine Valpolicella went down so well with the meatballs. We finished our meal with some of my daughter’s leftover birthday cake. A real feast for us!

Although some people, when making meatballs prefer to mix different type of mince like pork and beef, I would just go for lean beef instead (mine was 10% fat and organic). I don’t like greasy sauces, they would make the whole meal much heavier. Buy the best mince you can afford.

This recipes serves 4 and makes about 40 meatballs.

  • Prep Time : 30 minutes
  • Cook Time : 35 minutes


  • spaghetti – 350 g – 3 + 1/2 cup
  • tomato sauce – 400 ml – 14 fluid oz
  • lean mince – 350 g – a little more than 1 and 1/2 cups
  • grated parmesan cheese – 3 tbsp
  • onion – 1 small
  • carrot – 1 small
  • flour – to coat
  • egg – 1
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh basil leaves – handful


First let’s prepare the sauce: chop the onion finely and the carrot.

In a pan stir fry the onion and the carrot for a couple of minutes with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add the tomato sauce, a handful of basil leaves, salt and pepper and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes.

Mix the mince with the egg, grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

Form balls the size of a small walnut and coat them with flour.

In a pan heat up 4 tbsp of olive oil then add the meatballs and cook them until nice and golden. Turn them on all sides to make sure they cook evenly for about 6 to 8 minutes.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and let it bubble for a further 10 minutes over a gentle heat.

Cook your spaghetti in salty water, drain and mix them well with the meatballs and the sauce. Serve warm with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.


18 thoughts on “Pasta with meatballs in tomato sauce

  1. It must be meatball day! More than one food blogger is featuring them. Your recipe is interesting, a bit different from the standard spaghetti and meatballs I’m familiar with.

    best… mae at


    1. Absolutely! At this time of year especially. It is freezing out there and we need lots of warming hearty dishes.


  2. I made this tonight for dinner! I had never made meatballs before! This was so yummy! My husband could not get enough! :). Thank you….I look forward to making this many times in the future!


    1. That’s great! I am pleased you enjoyed the recipe. I make this dish quite often, it is one of my family’s favourite!


  3. My kids love pasta and meatballs and this is a new meatball recipe for me so I will definitely try it out.

    Funnily enough my kids hate tomatoes but their favourite dish is meatball and pasta soup. The base of the soup is 12 fresh tomatoes. I have explained this to them but they say that they don’t care because it tastes so nice. Kids!! Ha ha


    1. I guess tomato sauce is sweeter than fresh tomatoes? Maybe that’s why they prefer it. I made loads in Italy this year. My children love this too it is always a good meal for any day of the week.


  4. We just made and ate this dish.

    The sauce I used was actually a Marcella Hazan recipe (onion, celery leaves, celery sticks, garlic, chopped tomatoes and S&P) blended up for the boys.

    Mr 8 helped me roll the meatballs which was very nice.

    Usually I make my meatballs with breadcrumbs or whizzed crackers plus a few other ingredients such as mustard therefore they have quite a bite to them. Your meatballs are much softer and the flour adds a great consistence to the sauce.

    Our consensus was that your dish is favoursome and very lovely.

    We’ll be making it again!!


    1. That is great! I am so pleased you enjoyed them 🙂 I am going to look up at the Marcella Hazan recipe as well. It sounds interesting!


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