Plate of spaghetti with meatballs

John Torode’s spaghetti with meatballs

  • serves 6
  • A little effort

A classic! Make John Torode's spaghetti and meatballs for six tonight, in just over an hour. A super simple recipe that calls for less than 10 ingredients, it's best served with plenty of parmesan and a green salad on the side. Remember to brown the meatballs first.


Try John Torode’s classic spaghetti in meatballs, then check out more meatball recipes, such as our baked Italian meatballs and vegetarian meatballs.



  • olive oil
  • onions 2 large, finely diced
  • fresh breadcrumbs 100g
  • beef mince 1kg
  • flat-leaf parsley a handful, chopped (or try other soft herbs such as basil or chives if you like)
  • red wine ½ bottle
  • tomatoes 6 large, roughly chopped
  • chopped tomatoes 2 × 400g tins
  • spaghetti 500g
  • parmesan grated, to serve


  • Step 1

    Heat a large casserole or pan with a good slug of olive oil, add the onions and season well. Cook slowly over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until soft but not coloured. Take out the onions, put half in a large bowl with 100ml cold water and the breadcrumbs and mix well. Put the rest of the onions aside.

  • Step 2

    Add the mince and parsley to the breadcrumb and onion mix and season well. Mix together with your hands until everything is really well distributed. Mould the mixture into small balls, about the size of ping pong balls.

  • Step 3

    Brown the meatballs in batches in the casserole until they have a good colour all over then scoop out. Put the reserved cooked onions back into the pan. Turn up the heat, add the red wine and stir, scraping all the bits off the bottom as it boils. Add the fresh tomatoes and, keeping the heat high, cook, stirring, until they start to break down. Add the tinned tomatoes and bring back to the boil.

  • Step 4

    Cook for 10 minutes until reduced then put the meatballs back in and return to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the meatballs are completely cooked through. Cook the spaghetti according to pack instructions and drain. serve the meatballs with the spaghetti and a generous amount of parmesan.