Olive Magazine
Italian spaghetti and meatballs

Italian spaghetti and meatballs

Published: July 25, 2017 at 12:42 pm
  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Total time
  • Easy
  • Serves 8

Spaghetti and meatballs is a classic Italian staple that you can cook and eat now, or freeze for later. Serve with tomato sauce for a quick midweek meal


Make these Italian spaghetti and meatballs for a comforting family dinner. Also check out more delicious meatball recipes, such as our baked Italian meatballs and vegetarian meatballs.


  • olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 50ml milk
  • 100g  soft breadcrumbs
  • 1kg beef mince
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 300ml passata
  • a pinch (optional)  chilli flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • to serve cooked spaghetti
  • a few leaves (optional) oregano


  • STEP 1

    Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan and cook the onion for 5 minutes or until soft. Add half the garlic and all the fennel and cook for another 2 minutes, then allow to cool. Pour the milk over the breadcrumbs.

  • STEP 2

    Tip the beef mince, the cooled onion mix, the breadcrumbs and eggs into a large bowl. Season really well and mix. Divide into 56-60 portions of 1 heaped tsp each and roll each into a small meatball. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a clean frying pan and fry the meatballs until they are browned all over. Do this in batches and scoop out onto a plate when they’re brown.

  • STEP 3

    Fry the remaining garlic in a drizzle of oil, add the chopped tomatoes, passata, chilli flakes, bay leaf, sugar and vinegar, and simmer for 20 minutes until the sauce is thickened. Season well.

  • STEP 4

    Stir the meatballs into the sauce and cook for 10-15 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through. Allow to cool completely, tip into containers and freeze.

  • STEP 5

    To reheat, defrost completely in the fridge, tip into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes on a very low heat, stirring very gently every now and then so you don’t break up the meatballs. Serve with cooked spaghetti, and scatter with oregano if using.

Want more comfort food inspiration? Check out our best meatball recipes.

Italian Baked Meatballs Recipe

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