The very best meatballs ever…

Before I came to America, I had never eaten meatballs. I’m not a fan of meat for meat’s sake and I am just as happy with a marinara sauce for my pasta as a bolognese, but Handsome likes them, and when his eldest daughter said that’s what she wanted for her birthday meal, who am I to turn down the opportunity to make a new dish? I must confess, for the birthday meal, Handsome gave this recipe the first try. We did our usual scouring of my cookbooks and our regular online recipe friends, and as usual, Ree Dummond came up trumps. There’s something about the ways she describes her food that makes it a stronger temptation than Eve’s apple. And let’s be honest, it all tastes pretty darn good too! I’m a huge fan of anything that Handsome can cook right and this recipe was delicious.  It’s now on our regular meal schedule and is definitely worth sharing with you guys. Enjoy!



  • 1lb ground beef (lean)
  • 1lb ground pork
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Splash of milk
  • Olive oil


  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, minced
  • 10 whole basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 lbs spaghetti, cooked


  1. To make the meatballs, add all the ingredients to a large bowl and mix together by hand, taking care not to overmix as this can change the texture of the meat. Ensure the ingredients are JUST mixed, then leave it alone!
  2. Roll into small balls, maybe 1/2 inch each and set aside on an oven tray lined with greaseproof paper. Place in the fridge until ready to use, or in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up.
  3. Heat a good splash of olive oil in a large deep pan and brown your meatballs on all sides, in two batches, so that you don’t overcrowd the pan (4 minutes each batch). Put the meatballs aside in a large bowl until later, they will finish cooking in the sauce.
  4. In the same pan, add your onion and garlic and and fry until translucent, then add the red wine and boil rapidly until it is almost completely evaporated (3-4 mins).
  5. Add both tins of tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar and parsley. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 20 mins.
  6. At this stage, you can  add the meatballs, then set aside until you want to do the final 30 minutes of cooking. Or:
  7. Add the meatballs and simmer for a further 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the sauce doesn’t burn.
  8. Before stirring, stir in fresh basil and a couple more grind of black pepper and serve over the spaghetti. Garnish with Parmesan as required.


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