Biting into a tender meatball coated in creamy tomato sauce is one of those rare treats that feels great whether you’re 8 or 80. This meal is proper no nonsense feel good grub.

Last weekend Alice sent me a link to an Instagram post from the brilliant Lavender & Lovage and as soon as we saw it we just had to make some meatballs. This is almost as fun to make as it is to eat. Almost…


250g minced meat with a nice high fat content (20% is fine)

2 teaspoons, table salt

1 teaspoon, cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon, Spanish paprika

1 onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon, dried basil

1 teaspoon, oregano

500g Passata

A good grating of parmesan

400g fresh tagliatelle


  1. Start off by crafting your perfect meatballsAdd the salt, cayenne pepper and paprika to the minced meat and mix together lightly, the less you handle the meat the better. Then roll the mixture into roughly even balls, it’s up to you how big you make them, I went for roughly golf ball sized. As they cook the salt will help the meat stay together (explained more here)
  2. Preheat an oven to gas mark 4.
  3. Dry fry the meatballs in a large deep pan on a high heat until browned and fat has cooked off.
  4. Remove the meat from the pan and replace with the onions and fry in the leftover meat juice until soft. Add in the garlic for a couple of minutes and then add the meat back to the pan, add in the herbs and passata and give a good stir.
  5. Grate over a good helping of parmesan and slide into the oven for 10-20 mins, checking occasionally and adding water if the sauce is thickening too much.
  6. Time to cook the pasta, add the pasta to a large pan of boiling water with a good pinch of salt and a few drops of oil.
  7. When the pasta is cooked you can bring the meatballs back up onto the hob, give the sauce a good taste and add extra herbs, salt or pepper depending on your preference.
  8. Serve up straight away with a little extra cheese and a sprig of fresh herbs (I used parsley because it was close).
  9. Goes down great with a large glass of red, preferably something heavy and Italian like a rjoca.

braised beef meatballs

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