Melting meatball macaroni 2016

Melting meatball macaroni

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(19 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 30 mins


Serves 6

This recipe has all the elements of comfort food; beef and pork meatballs with an oozing cheesy filling, a rich tomato sauce and pasta

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal646
  • fat24g
  • saturates11g
  • carbs40g
  • sugars9g
  • fibre5g
  • protein36g
  • salt1.8g
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  • 300g pork mince
  • 400g beef mince (with around 10% fat)
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
    Fennel seeds

    Fennel seeds

    feh-nell seeds

    A dried seed that comes from the fennel herb, fennel seeds look like cumin seeds, only greener,…

  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp dried oregano



    Closely related to marjoram, of which it is the wild equivalent, oregano has a coarser, more…

  • 200g tallegio or mozzarella, chopped into small chunks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp tomato purée
  • 50ml red wine
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml passata
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 400g macaroni or other pasta shape
  • crusty bread, to serve (optional)


  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Mix the pork and beef mince with the fennel seeds, chilli, 1 tsp oregano and some seasoning in a large bowl until combined. Divide and shape into 18 meatballs with a nugget or two of taleggio in the middle (save some for the top), then chill for 10 mins.

  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan (use a flameproof casserole dish if you can – it’ll save on washing up). Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sizzle until softened, about 8 mins . Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 min more, then add the tomato purée, wine, tomatoes, passata, bay leaves, sugar remaining oregano and lots of seasoning, cover with a lid and simmer for 20 mins. Meanwhile, arrange the meatballs on a baking tray lined with foil, drizzle with the remaining oil and bake for 10 mins.

  3. Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling salted water according to packet instructions, then drain, reserving some water. If the pan is not ovenproof, tip the sauce into a casserole dish. Stir the pasta into the sauce along with the liquid from the meatballs and some pasta water if it needs thinning. Turn the grill to a medium-high setting.

  4. Nestle the meatballs into the pasta, so that they poke out the top. Scatter the remaining taleggio over the top and grill for 5-10 mins until the cheese and meatballs are golden. Serve with crusty bread, if you like.

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Comments, questions and tips

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libby0's picture
21st Dec, 2016
So much work, so little taste!
20th Nov, 2016
Really disappointing. I followed the instructions exactly but this was a let-down. As others have commented, the meatballs were heavy and dry, and I also found the sauce bland and uninspiring. I was lured in by the photo on the monthly magazine cover, which looked amazing, but it took longer to make than stated and was really not worth the effort. Wouldn't bother to make it again. Shame, as I've had great success with so many BBC recipes in the past.
18th Nov, 2016
Made this last night, and kids and hubby loved it. However i used 500g pork mince and 500g beef mince and made large meatballs with a good piece of mozarella in them. Cooked in oven and turned over mid cook. Assembled all together, mixed well, in large pyrex and baked in oven rather than grill with left over mozarella and some parmasean. Meatballs came out perfectly and not dry at all. I found the sauce great as my kids love a thick tomato sauce. I did omit the sugar from recipe, as dont tend to add when cooking. I couldnt get fennel seeds but were not missed and next time i will definately add more chilli flakes. Served with homemade garlic and parmesean bread. Beautiful and great for my family of 5 plus leftover portion.
12th Nov, 2016
I scaled this down a bit, 170g meat in total, half a mozzarella ball. I ended up with two generous servings. Really delicious, it's gone into my Saved list. I could eat this any day.
9th Nov, 2016
I made this the other night, used half of the sauce with meatballs (which turned out dense and dry as others have mentioned), and half with veggie 'meat'balls. It lasted 2 nights, and on the second night it was delicious. Lovely sauce, but the meatballs need some practise!
28th Oct, 2016
Good meal and easy to make. I used taleggio but could have done with more in the meatballs and on top. Plenty of flavour and lovely with just a green salad and balsamic. We scored it 8/10 and I'd serve it again but use more cheese
22nd Oct, 2016
First time we cooked it as per the recipe. Second time we added chilli flakes to the meatballs and chorizo to the sauce (when frying the onion). Made such a difference. Very tasty.
21st Oct, 2016
Very disappointing- the meatballs were dense and dry. I also found that the pasta over cooked under the grill. I'll stick to my preferred meatball recipe next time- turkey mince and sausage with hidden veg sauce
11th Oct, 2016
We normally enjoy the recipes, but we really didn't like this one. The sauce was far too tomato'y - 2 tins of tomatoes, Passata, and puree. The meat balls were very dense and dry. I have to say it was one of the worst good food recipes we've tried. But recommendations of good pasta and meatball recipes most welcome.
2nd Oct, 2016
Sauce very tasty...I added extra onion and finely chopped red and green peppers to give it a little more bulk, and used a mixture of mozzarella, cheddar and parmesan sprinkled over the top. The meatballs were a little on the dry side - I think perhaps I overcooked them whilst trying to keep it waiting for my footie playing kids!


louhands25's picture
12th Oct, 2016
I really want to try this recipe but as there is only 2 of us in the house, I was wondering could I freeze the uncooked meatballs?
goodfoodteam's picture
28th Oct, 2016
Thanks for your question. Yes you can freeze the uncooked meatballs. We would suggest open freezing them, ie. laying them out on a tray so they are not touching and once frozen, transferring to a freezer bag. This prevents them sticking together. You can defrost them in the fridge and continue the recipe as above. You can also freeze some of the sauce after stage 2.
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