The BBC Good Food logo
Next level meatballs served in a pan, with spaghetti alongside

Next level spaghetti & meatballs

A star rating of 4.7 out of 5.33 ratingsRate
Magazine subscription – your first 5 issues for only £5!
  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Prep:
    • Cook:
    • Plus at least 1 hr 30 mins chilling and resting
  • Easy
  • Serves 6

Make the ultimate meatballs in a rich tomato sauce to serve over spaghetti. Comfort food at its best, this will prove a hit at the family dinner table

Nutrition: Per serving


For the meatballs

  • 400g beef mince
  • 400g pork mince
  • 100g ciabatta, sourdough or other white bread, crusts removed, torn into pieces
  • 100ml milk
  • 6 garlic cloves, very finely chopped or grated
  • large handful parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • grating of nutmeg
  • ½ tsp yeast extract
  • 50g grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
  • 150g mozzarella or fontina, chopped into 18 pieces

For the sauce

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • pinch of golden caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • splash of red wine (optional)
  • 3 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 500g spaghetti, to serve


  • STEP 1

    Tip the beef and pork into a large bowl. Mix and season generously with salt. Set aside for at least 30 mins, or for up to 1 hr. Meanwhile, put the bread in a bowl with the milk and leave to soak.

  • STEP 2

    Tip the soaked bread into the bowl with the meat and add all the remaining meatball ingredients except for the mozzarella. Season with plenty of pepper, then scrunch the mixture together with your hands until combined.

  • STEP 3

    Roughly divide the meatball mixture into 18 portions. Use your hands to flatten one portion, then gently wrap it around a piece of the mozzarella and roll into a ball. Repeat with the remaining portions. Chill the meatballs in the fridge for 1 hr before cooking. Can be prepared up to two days ahead and stored in the fridge.

  • STEP 4

    Heat 3 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan or casserole dish. Fry the meatballs in batches, browning them on all sides, then transfer to a plate and set aside. Pour the remaining oil into the pan and heat for 1 min, then fry the sliced garlic for a few seconds. Tip in the sugar, vinegar and wine (if using) and bubble for 1 min. Add the tomatoes, then season and cook over a medium heat for 10 mins. Tip in the meatballs and gently stir to ensure they’re fully coated in the sauce. Cover the pan and simmer on a low heat for about 20 mins, spooning the sauce over the meatballs occasionally.

  • STEP 5

    Remove the pan from the heat and set aside, then cook the spaghetti. To serve, divide the spaghetti between bowls, top with three warm meatballs each, spoon over the sauce and scatter with the remaining parmesan.


Milk-soaked bread makes the meatballs light and plump. We tried skipping this step and noticed the difference. The better the quality of bread, the better the flavour – we’d recommend ciabatta, sourdough or baguette.

Goes well with

Recipe from Good Food magazine, January 2018


Comments, questions and tips

Rate this recipe

What is your star rating out of 5?

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Overall rating

A star rating of 4.7 out of 5.33 ratings

Sponsored content