Everyone has their own way of making meatballs – but as I said to my husband last night you don’t need egg or breadcrumbs to keep your balls intact. I think he snorted at this, but wasn’t complaining sometime later when he was tucking into a steaming bowl of spaghetti and meatballs.
I’d like to claim the complete rights to this recipe but my Dad is the master of meatballs and hamburgers and his rule is simple – beef mince and pork mince together to keep it moist, and where there is minced beef there is nutmeg. So here it is…
This recipe will feed a least 6 people.
Spaghetti and Meatballs
- 800g minced beef
- 400g minced pork
- 2 large onions finely diced (when making meatballs for children and fussy adults I chop the onions in the food processor. This also helps keep the balls intact).
- 1 large / 2 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- Ground nutmeg or whole nutmeg (grated)
- 1 large pepper (chopped very finely)
- 1/2 teaspoon chilli (fresh, finely diced or a teaspoon of chopped chilli in a tube – optional)
- 1 litre of tomato passata, or two tins of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- Fresh or dried herbs (basil, oregano)
Put the minced meat into a bowl. If you use fresh meat you can then freeze what ever you have left over. This recipe taste even better on the second day after the flavours have matured.
Cook the chopped onion and garlic in a large frying pan in a small amount of olive oil. I only use raw onion in my meatballs and hamburgers if I’m cooking them immediately, as if you leave raw onion too long it starts to oxidise and turn the meat sour.
Add the cooked onion to the minced meat, along with the chopped pepper, a good grinding of fresh black pepper, sea salt and nutmeg, and chilli if you want them to have a little kick.
I don’t add egg to bind the mixture as you can see from the picture above its pretty sturdy.
If you want to cook them straightaway add a little more oil to the frying pan but before you shape the meat into balls, fry a little of the mixture through to check your seasoning.
Alternatively you can shape them now and cook them later.
Cook the balls until just brown all over, they do not need to be cooked through at this stage.
Now add the tomato passata directly into the pan. You will need to add salt, pepper and some herbs for flavour. When cooking with passata or tinned tomatoes you will need to add some sugar (to taste).
You can either now transfer the pan to the oven to simmer or leave it on hob. You get a really flavoursome sauce because of the meat juices in the pan.
For the 10 minutes or so that the sauce is simmering, the meatballs will be thoroughly cooked, but will remain moist due to the mince / pork combination. Use this time to cook your spaghetti.
For a really delicious touch I drop chunks of mozzarella on top and grill until golden brown, finish off with basil leaves. For a quick mid week supper though, a good dash of parmesan is equally good.
As my photography is not as good as my cooking some of my recipes feature stock photos. The featured image for this recipe is credited to Anna Shepulova