Classic Italian spaghetti meat balls

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Original Italian spaghetti with meatballs in tomato sauce

Spaghetti  doesn’t have to be boring, there are so many  different flavours  you can use to vary the seasoning and  sauce base. This is a classic Italian  beef  meat ball recipe  distinguished by the addition of  lemon zest. The meat balls are  braised in a saucepan before adding to the tomato sauce, giving  rich caramalized flavour to  the meat balls. As with many Italian dishes the rich tomato sauce is flavoured with oregano leaves.

Spices used in this recipe


  1. To make the meat balls:  Combine  all the meatball ingredients into a large bowl. Using your hands  mix thoroughly, kneading the mixture until sticky enough to form small golf ball size balls. Use your hands to form the meat balls, using enough pressure to keep the ball shape.  Cover with  glad wrap and refrigerate for 15 min, while you prepare the sauce  base.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a deep dish pan, add the onion and garlic and saut’e until translucent approx 5 min. Stir in the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, oregano , sugar and simmer to let the flavours develop approx 10 min. If the sauce is too thick, a little water maybe added.

  3. In a separate saucepan, heat the oil and  add the meatballs. Saut’e until  the meatballs are browned well on each side. Reduce the heat and add the tomato sauce  to the meat balls,  simmer a further 10 min.

  4. Cook the pasta  as per packet instructions.
    Serve the  spaghetti  meat balls with pasta and garnish with parmesan and oregano.

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