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Italian Meatballs with Linguine & Tomato Sauce Recipe

The perfect Italian meatballs for a family of 4.

50 min


Serves 4

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ingredient icon Ingredients

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
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh basil

For the meatballs

  • 200g best ground beef
  • 100g ground pork (shoulder)
  • 100g ground gammon (leg)
  • 1/2 tbsp dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan, grated
  • 1 tbsp flat parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Maldon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • Step 1 : 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.
  • Step 2 : Make 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.
  • Step 3 : Cook the Meatballs

    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.
  • Step 4 : Serve

    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