Spaghetti with Tomato, Basil and Parmesan Meatballs

Written by Karen Coakley

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This is one of our favourite family dinners and I think it’s safe to say a firm favourite the world over. What child (or grown up) doesn’t love Spaghetti and Meatballs? This recipe is so easy to make!

I always urge my followers to make sauces from scratch as this way you ensure there is absolutely no nastiness in there and know exactly what has gone into your little and big darlings bodies. You will be surprised to find that once you make this Tomato and Basil sauce you will never again reach for a jar of Dolmio or any other ready made sauce for that matter. They are so full of hidden, salt, sugar and lots of other CRAP and once your taste buds get a hold of the fresh flavour in this you really won’t want the others anymore.

This tomato sauce is the base for my Spaghetti Bolognese, my Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni and also the tomato sauce for my Pizzas, I leave the wine out when I’m making it for use with Pizza and use any leftovers from our Pizza Parties to make Chicken Parmigiana the following day.

The meatballs are best rolled into golf ball sizes and I brown them first all over on the outside before adding them to the sauce. I like to finish it off in the oven in a cast iron pot as I think it deepens the flavour but you can of course cook on the hob. My recipe here serves 6-8 and it freezes perfectly. It’s also very important to use LOTS of Basil as you want to get a really strong flavour of basil coming through and I only ever add it at the end allowing it to wilt down into the sauce before blitzing.

I hope you enjoy the recipe and don’t forget if you cook it you can Snap me a photograph of the finished dish onSnapchat http://snapchat.com/kenmarefoodie or you can join my ‘KenmareFoodie’s Home Cooking’ Private Facebook Group and post it there where you’ll find lots of people talking about food, sharing recipes and tips and getting a little bit of ‘Foodie’ inspiration https://www.facebook.com/groups/1849931801901135/

N.B *The cook is usually allowed an extra glass of wine for herself to accompany the dinner :-)*



For The Meatballs

For The Tomato Sauce


  1. Heat a little drop of oil in a large oven proof dish over a medium heat, add the chopped onion, give a good stir, turn the heat down, cover with a lid and allow to sweat for 5 to 10 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Once they are soft and nicely caramelised add the crushed garlic and stir through, allow to cook for a minute or two.
  2. When you have this done turn the heat up, add the red wine and allow to reduce down by almost a half before adding the two tins of chopped tomatoes, the sugar and salt and pepper. Rinse one of the cans with water and add approx half a can of water to the sauce. Allow to simmer for 5 to 10 mins.
  3. While the sauce is simmering place all the ingredients for the meatballs into a bowl and mix well to combine making sure you have them seasoned well. Take a small piece of the mix (about the size of a golf ball) and roll in the palm of you hands until you have a nice smooth ball shape.
  4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium/high heat and brown the meatballs on all sides. You will have to do this in batches to prevent over crowding and cooling down the frying pan. Once browned transfer to a plate lined with kitchen towel.
  5. Check the seasoning on the tomato sauce and tear in the basil, allow it to cook down for a minute or so before blitzing with a soup gun or in a liquidizer.
  6. Add all of the meatballs to the oven dish with the tomato sauce and place into the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes making sure the meatballs are piping hot and cooked through.
  7. Serve with Spaghetti, Linguine or Tagliatelle and garnish with torn basil and fresh basil shavings.
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