Meatball Marinara

Beef and pork meatballs, seared under the grill then cooked in a delicious, homemade tomato sauce. The meatballs are fluffy, tender and full of flavour. It’s hands down one of my favourite recipes! Toss with spaghetti and serve – enjoy!

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Meat



For the meatballs:

  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 65 g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 4 tbsps milk
  • 2 large garlic cloves, grated or very finely chopped
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 30 g grated parmigiano reggiano or grana padano
  • 15 g fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 15 g fresh basil, finely chopped
  • ¾ tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly-ground black pepper
  • 500 g beef mince (10% fat)
  • 450 g good-quality pork sausagemeat

For the marinara (tomato sauce):

  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp dried Italian herbs
  • 2 tbsps double concentrated tomato purée
  • 200 ml white wine
  • 2 x 400 g tins of good-quality whole peeled plum tomatoes, hand-crushed
  • 200 ml good-quality chicken stock
  • 1 small handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1 small handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsps sugar, optional

To serve:

  • spaghetti


Making the meatballs:

  1. Heat your oven grill to high. Line a large baking tray with foil; lightly grease the foil with olive oil.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, milk, garlic, egg, parmigiano reggiano, parsley, basil, salt and pepper and mix well to combine. You want all the ingredients to be evenly spread out and well-incorporated.
  3. Add the beef mince and pork sausagemeat. Using your hands, combine the meats with the other ingredients until well-incorporated. Be careful not to overmix though; overmixing makes for tougher, denser meatballs.
  4. Roll the mixture into 1 heaped tablespoon-sized meatballs. It helps to lightly oil your hands when doing this. This recipe makes about 26 meatballs.
  5. Arrange the meatballs in a single layer on the foil-lined baking tray. Grill for 7 to 10 minutes, until browned on top. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Making the sauce:

  1. Heat your oven to 150℃. Heat a good glug of extra-virgin olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add the sweet onion and season with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and dried Italian herbs and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the tomato purée and cook, stirring almost constantly, until it begins to darken, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the white wine and cook, stirring occasionally, most of the liquid has evaporates.
  6. Add the crushed tinned tomatoes and chicken stock and season generously with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper.
  7. Carefully add the meatballs to the sauce and stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a simmer.
  8. Cover and place the pot in the oven. Bake for 1 hour at 150℃. If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can make this in a large saucepan: simmer on low (the lowest possible setting) for 1 hour.
  9. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in the fresh basil and parsley. Taste and season with extra sea salt and freshly-ground pepper, if necessary, as well as the sugar (if using). Toss with spaghetti and enjoy!


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