There are some dishes that I hesitate in posting, as I feel that they’re probably not exciting enough for my fellow bloggers and readers who I know cook to such a high level and have their own tried and tested recipes. However, part of the reason for creating this blog is to provide a go-to guide and resource for my two young boys, so that eventually when they leave the nest 😢 (or even before then perhaps… when they feel inspired to cook up something for dinner for their parents! Yes, I did stress that word ‘perhaps’!)… some of their favourites will be there to find easily.
This is a dish that I cook reasonably regularly and it’s most definitely one that puts a smile on everyone’s faces! It comes from a well-used cookbook called ‘Apples for Jam’ by Tessa Kiros. The only changes I’ve made are slightly increasing the quantity of meat and upping the amount of spices. Though feel free to make your own decisions as to how fragrant you like your meatballs!
Spaghetti and Meatballs
For the Meatballs:
- 50g (Day Old) Crustless White Bread (broken into small pieces)
- 4 Tablespoons Milk
- 250g Beef Mince
- 250g Pork Mince
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 2 Tablespoons Flat-Leaf Parsley (Finely Chopped)
- ½ Small Red Onion or French Shallot (Coursely Grated)
(Plus 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil for frying the meatballs)
For the Sauce:
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Cloves Garlic (Peeled and Smashed a bit)
- 400g Tin Chopped Tomatoes
- A few Basil Leaves (Torn)
- Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 250ml/1 Cup Boiling Water
- 300g Pasta (Spaghetti or Linguine…)
- Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Recipe from ‘Apples for Jam’ by Tessa Kiros
Begin by making the meatballs… In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread and milk and use fingers to mush it together into something of a paste. Add all other ingredients and once again use hands to mix together until fully combined. Roll into small balls and set aside on a plate until the sauce has been started and you are ready to fry them up.
* Tip: I prefer to place my uncooked meatballs in the fridge for at least half an hour, as they seem to hold their shape a little better when frying.
To make the sauce, place the olive oil and smashed garlic into a medium-sized pot and place over low/medium heat. Heat until the garlic is gently frying and aromatic. Add the tinned tomatoes and basil, along with a grinding of pepper and a pinch of salt. Allow to simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes.
At this point, start frying the meatballs in the extra oil in a large frying pan. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry until golden brown all over.
Now add 250mls (1 Cup) of boiling water to the pot with the sauce and stir combine. Add the cooked meatballs into the sauce and continue to cook on a gentle simmer (uncovered) for another 20-25 minutes, until the sauce has thickened beautifully. Be sure to check for seasoning and adjust if need be.
Have your pasta water boiling and ready to go. Cook the pasta until ‘al dente’, then place into a serving bowl. I like to coat the pasta with a small splash of olive oil (so that the strands don’t all stick together), before piling on top the meatballs and sauce.
Serve with some freshly grated parmesan on the side, a crisp green salad and some crusty bread for mopping up the sauce.
Dinner was happily eaten outside on this particular evening. A glass of red… or white (as is my preference going into the warmer months) complements this dish rather well too!
Honestly, I’ve already seen meatballs on this long blogging afternoon… but I NEVER tire of them. And I’ll agree the photos are super. Meatballs rock!
Thanks so very much Wendy – I really appreciate your comment! 🙂
nice hands of Stu xaj
Yes, thankfully there wasn’t any dirt from the garden or grease from his bike showing under those fingernails! 😉
I think your dish is great and there is no reason why you shouldn’t have posted it! I’m all for simple, basic dishes! Nowadays people go for the wow/super sophisticated dishes and if you ask them to cook something basic with just two ingredients, they don’t know where to start from. You have no idea how difficult it is to find a good tomato sauce on any Italian table!!!
Basic dishes? Keep them coming, Margot! 🙂
Thank you Francesca. I think I need to come and spend some time exploring your past posts in the next few days for some more classic Italian inspiration. If you see a spike in your Australian visitors… it’s quite possibly me! 🙂 Have a great weekend!
So true, I often think I can’t put a recipe up because it seems a little everyday but then these are the meals my family love and everyday food is what we all need! Your meatballs look delicious, fab photos!
Thanks so much for the reassurance Anna! You’re so right – everyday food is what we all need… I’m always on the look out for inspiring, week-night fare that will keep the whole family happy. Cheers, Margot
Margot, it’s lunchtime and my mouth is watering in front of my computer screen, it looks perfectly delicious, the sauce, the meatballs everything. This simple dish has become a feast 🙂
Thank you Linda – you’re so very kind with your comments! Sometimes a good feast is in order! 🙂
Classic and delicious. There is nothing more wonderful than a big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, I love it Margot. Looks wonderful!! The photo’s are so beautiful too!!!
Thanks so very much Suzanne! I really do love these types of easy-going, relaxed meals… we all squished onto a little table out on our front deck (a little like camping, though thankfully the photos don’t appear totally ‘campingesque’!) with bowls, glasses, pasta, bread and salad all fitting in wherever we could find room. 🙂
Margot, Don’t need to say more… the title does it. Yum! 😛
🙂 Thanks Fae!
Spaghetti and meatballs belongs on everyone’s blog!! Nice work. 🙂
Cheers! I guess there was no need to have procrastinated on posting this one for so long after all… 🙂 Hope you’re having a great week!
Always, my friend. Cheers 🙂
Wow I love meatballs (which are one of my favourite things to eat) and love the sauce recipe a lot,too. So hungry right now !
Hmmm, sounds like it’s time to go cook up a batch of meatballs!? Thanks very much for stopping by!
Lol, You are welcome!
ps. It is always time for meatballs! 🙂
Stunning photography. The meatballs look delicious. Emma.
That’s so kind of you to say, Emma! Thank you.
Believe or not, I’ve never tried spaghetti with meatball… but let me tell you that your bowl full of pasta, meatballs and sauce looks heavenly!
Thanks so very much Margherita! 🙂 We really love this dish… children and adults alike!
But Margot, this is one of the very best dishes there is. The taste, comfort and pleasure of it can’t be beat. Thank you for posting this because for a fleeting yet delightful moment, I was sitting at your family dinner with you!
You would have been most welcome my dear Azita! One day we’ll sit down to a meal together… of that, I am sure! 🙂
I’m so glad you did post, this sound so good! I think we all go through the hesitation on what we should post, but I love the idea of keeping a record for our family.
Very kind of you Jeanne – thank you! I’m pretty sure that some of these simple, well-loved recipes are the ones my boys will be searching for down the track, when they’re off cooking for their own loved ones!
Everyone needs a good spaghetti and meat balls recipe! Yummo!
Absolutely Gab! Thank you!
Looks scrumptious Margot, a family favourite for us. I had an Italian co worker who taught me to make meatballs exactly like this, although she insisted they not be browned, but simply poached in the tomato sauce. Her secret ingredient was the addition of one teaspoon of toasted ground fennel seed to the meat. I would much rather have meatballs with my spaghetti than bolognese sauce!
Thanks very much Sandra! I’m definitely going to try simply poaching them next time – sounds a whole lot quicker and less washing up to do too! 🙂 I love the taste of fennel seeds, so I’ll be experimenting with that option too. I love how all you wonderful bloggers bring these extra thoughts and tips to the table, to keep things from ever becoming mundane and predictable! Cheers!
This confession may cost me my Guido Card, Margot, but I’ve never cooked spaghetti and meatballs. I cannot tell you when I last enjoyed the dish, too. Mom made it but very rarely and there’s no record of her meatball recipe anywhere. Yours do sound good, especially being you use both beef and pork. Love, too, that you use cinnamon. Love its flavor with tomato sauce. You’ve reminded me that my cousin in San Marino told me her recipe when I visited last May. I have to dig out my notebook and find it. Either way, I’ve gone meatball-less far too long!!! 🙂
I won’t tell a soul John! 😉 I hope that you do manage to find your cousin’s recipe – I’d love to read about how she makes them. I was just about to write that I’m sure ground cumin probably wouldn’t feature in her recipe, but after a quick google search found (on wikipedia) that cumin seeds were used heavily in ancient Roman Cuisine… though your guess would be better than mine as to what type of dishes they might have used them in!? Ha! Another quick search finds that the ancient Roman Cookbook ‘Apicius’ contained many meatball-type recipes! Perhaps the 2 were combined after all!? 🙂 Hope you’re having a fabulous week!
I love spaghetti and meatballs but I haven’t had it in years. Yes you should put these recipes on your blog just one look at that and I know what I am going to have for dinner this week! I hope your boys use your recipes and cook for you one day 🙂
Me too Karen! That day can’t be too far off… can it? 🙂 Thanks so much for the reassurance that this recipe should be posted. The meatballs really are delicious and the sauce has such simple, classic flavours. I hope you guys enjoy it!
Oh Margot, this is magnificent. What a coincidence. Right now I have a pot of Tessa’s bolognese sauce simmering on the stove! Yes, from Apples for Jam, page 294. And Johnny is right, your photographs are stunning! I really love the simplicity of the photograph with the spaghetti and the white dishes. Lovely. Honestly, I post recipes on my blog for the same reason, as a guide and resource for my son. Love how you put it out there that “perhaps” they would use it now to cook for their parents. 🙂 i’m always so happy when I see a post from you.
You’re so very kind Seana – I look forward to reading your posts too! How fabulous that you were cooking from this very same book when my post went out… coincidence indeed! 🙂 It’s such a treasure trove of family-friendly dishes. Thank you for your generous comments… I actually got a little teary reading your lovely words. M.xx
Beautifully staged! Wow, you’re really going for it. Must be loads of wonderful, natural light. And those meatballs look so, so good. Don’t suppose there’s any left?!
Thanks so much Johnny! Yes, the light is fabulous of an evening now that we’ve gone onto ‘Daylight Savings’! The meatballs are packed full of flavour and delicious. I usually make up a double batch of the meatballs and freeze half (uncooked), ready to go in a week or two’s time. So, go ahead and book your flight… you’ve got 2 weeks to get here! 😉 Might even make a cake for you too!