Food is a big thing in my family. It’s the glue that brings us together when we are all distracted and busy with everyday life. For as long as I can remember, home cooking has played a massive part at dinner times. My nan has been the influencer of this and has always made an effort to teach us her secret recipes. Spaghetti and meatballs is a firm family favourite. This recipe has been in the family for generations and has travelled from continent to continent.
Family Recipe: Spaghetti and Meatballs
This recipe originally came from my great-grandma Juliano, born and raised in Italy, eventually migrated to America to start her family. My grandad met my nan in England, and they married, had my mum and went to live in the Bronx, New York – the ‘then’ home of many New York Italians.
My nan learnt many recipes from her Italian mother-in-law and brought them back to England, now shared with me.
It’s incredible to think how far family traditions can extend, and this meatball recipe is one of them. It’s funny because my nan usually makes this in addition to a huge lasagne and garlic bread, and yes, we eat it all!
Good Old Spaghetti and Meatballs
- 1 pound ground beef (minced beef) - lean
- ½ pound ground pork (minced pork) - lean
- ½ cup parmesan cheese - or Grana Padano
- 2 slices bread - for breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion
- 1 medium egg
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 small handful basil - fresh
- 1 tin tomatoes - chopped
- 1 small teaspoon sugar
- 1 pinch salt - to taste
- 1 pinch ground black pepper - to taste
- 1 pack spaghetti - or linguini
- Blitz the bread to create breadcrumbs and finely chop the onion and two cloves of garlic
- In a large bowl, mix the pork and beef mince (I mix with my hands)
- Add the Grana Padano/parmesan cheese, the chopped garlic, breadcrumbs and half of the chopped onion.
- Add one egg to the bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix. You should feel it starting to come together now. This is when you can start creating the meatballs.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, and fry the meatballs in two batches. Turn for 5-10 minutes until golden brown.
- Grab a baking tray and carefully place the meatballs on to here and then fry the second batch.
- Heat the oven at around 180ºC whilst you’re frying the second batch of meatballs.
- Once all of the meatballs are on the baking tray, place them in the oven for approximately 20 minutes to cook through.
- Whilst the meatballs are cooking, you can start the fresh tomato passata. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan, and add the remainder of chopped onion, the punnet of plum tomatoes, garlic, oregano and cook down for 5-10 minutes.
- The tomatoes should start softening now. I gently crush mine with a potato masher to avoid harsh lumps.
- Add the tin of chopped tomatoes and sugar—cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Season the sauce with a bit of salt and pepper and some chopped fresh basil (to your taste)
- Remove the meatballs from the oven and carefully add to the tomato sauce. Stir in the meatballs and leave on low heat.
- Bring some water to a boil and add the spaghetti, again, cooking the pasta to your preferred taste. I usually cook it for around 15 minutes – not too soggy! When ready, drain the pasta and plate up. Bon appetite!