My favourite really rich saucy Italian meatballs

    2 hours

    After many attempts to create the best meatballs, I think I've got them as good as I can get them. Great on a budget and just as a warning, you will not be able to stop eating them. I serve with wholewheat or egg spaghetti, as the normal and quick cook ones don't taste of much to me and, of course, garlic bread.


    West Midlands, England, UK
    74 people made this

    Serves: 5 

    • 500g lean beef or steak mince
    • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 5 or 6 tablespoons dried oregano
    • 4 or 5 tablespoons dried basil
    • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
    • 1 teaspoon ground Cayenne pepper
    • 5 or 6 tablespoons ground paprika
    • 1 squeeze tomato puree
    • 1/2 packet cheese thin crackers, the big version of mini Cheddars or 2 small bags of mini Cheddars
    • 1 large egg
    • flour for coating meatballs before frying
    • 1 onion
    • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
    • 1 carton passata
    • 1/2 teaspoon crushed chilli flakes (optional!)
    • salt and pepper
    • oil for frying (preferrably not olive, as I have a cheap pan and it sticks horribly, but if you have a good non-stick one, feel free to use it!)
    • The additional bit
    • 2 carrots
    • 2 sticks celery

    Prep:1hr  ›  Cook:1hr  ›  Ready in:2hr 

    1. Put your mince, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons of oregano, 2 tablespoons of basil, all the parsley, 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 3 tablespoons of paprika and a little tomato puree together first in a mixing bowl mix it all together as much as you can, to make sure everything is blended. Either do it the traditional way by hand, or make your life a bit easier and use a food mixer.
    2. Crush your cheese thins (or mini cheddars) until they are crumbs and add these to your meat and spice mixture. Followed by the egg. Carry on mixing until the texture is a LITTLE sticky, but not too much, otherwise you won't be able to roll them.
    3. Once mixed and ready, coat very lightly in a little flour and fry in a frying pan on a medium-high heat until just the outside is browned Don't worry about the inside being cooked for now, they'll be in a pot for almost 2 hours and they don't take too long to cook. Once fried, dab a little to get any excess oil off and set aside, covering with foil to keep warm until the sauce is ready (about 5 minutes).
    4. Now for the sauce, finely chop your onion and fry in a separate pan (I use a big one, because the meatlballs go in soon), when the onion is a little softer, add the chopped tomatoes and passata and the remaining spices and mix it all together.
    5. Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook for as long as possible on a low hob setting with the lid on, stir occasionally to prevent sticking. If you have the time, cook for 2 hours, if not, cook for one. Simple as, it tastes great both ways and you will love them I'm sure. Serve with pasta and garlic bread; I usually put 5 or 6 meatballs to a person, and you have LOADS of sauce to mop up, so it's a good excuse to eat lots of garlic bread.
    6. The additional bit: If you fancy sneaking a few vegetables in for kids this is a great opportunity, because you can't see the vegetables, but it changes the flavour ever so slightly, it's yummy! If you fancy adding the extra bit, grate the carrots and celery and fry with the onions when making the sauce. Easy as pie! Enjoy! I know I always do.

    Cook's note

    I wouldn't get too loose handed with the chilli flakes, they give a HUGE kick, but I choose to leave them out normally.

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    Reviews in English (14)


    My family love this recipe. Infact it is what is requested if the kids have friends over. Highly recommend - I usually leave the chill out as it is too hot from my little ones.  -  02 Feb 2012


    I made this for all the family and it went down great with the grown up's! Really tasty. Unfortunately far too hot for the kids. I'll take the chilli flakes out next time lol :D  -  23 Sep 2009


    I added a 2 tablespoons of pesto, it was lovely  -  07 Sep 2012