Recipes by Nick Nairn

Great produce is the cornerstone of my food philosophy and I find the freshness and quality of their fish outstanding.

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Nick Nairn's Italian Meatballs with Linguine & Tomato Sauce Recipe

The perfect Italian meatballs for a family of 4.

Recipe Category

Beef recipes

Recipe Ingredient




For the tomato sauce

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • small pinch dried chilli flakes
  • 800g good-quality Italian tinned tomatoes
  • Maldon salt   Buy Now
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh basil

For the meatballs

  • 200g best ground beef   Buy Now
  • 100g ground pork (shoulder)   Buy Now
  • 100g ground gammon (leg)
  • 1½ tbsp dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan, grated
  • 1 tbsp flat parsley, chopped
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Maldon salt   Buy Now
  • freshly ground black pepper
Nick Nairn's Italian Meatballs with Linguine & Tomato Sauce Recipe


First make the tomato sauce. Warm the olive oil in a thick-based pan, add the chopped onion and slowly sweat without colouring. After a few minutes add the garlic, dried chilli flakes and seasoning and cook for another 5 minutes.

Next add the tinned tomatoes and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently. While the tomato sauce is reducing down, assemble the meatballs. Place all the ground meat, breadcrumbs, Parmesan and parsley into a large bowl and, using your hands, mix thoroughly. (You could just use beef mince if you prefer.) Add the onion, olive oil, egg yolk and a generous pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix again.

Using clean hands divide the meatball mixture into small pieces and roll into balls. The size of a table-tennis ball is a good guide.

When you have all your meatballs ready, heat a medium-sized frying pan. Add the olive oil and fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown. You may need more oil as the meatballs absorb the oil during cooking.

When the meatballs are all coloured, add them to the tomato sauce and cook for roughly 15-20 minutes. Do ensure the meatballs are properly cooked. Finally check for seasoning and serve with olive oil, linguine or spaghetti and freshly shaved Parmesan, a couple of grinds of pepper and chopped basil