Italian Meatballs with Pasta
Serves: 4-5
  • 500 grams beef mince
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 slice of good quality bread, trimmed of its crusts
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 400 mls tomato passata
  • 200 mls water
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1+ cups dry plain breadcrumbs
  • olive oil
to serve
  • fettuccine or pappardelle
  • extra gratings of parmesan
  1. Put the milk and the bread in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Mash the bread with a fork and blend it into the milk. Set aside and cool.
  2. In a large bowl, add the mince, egg, nutmeg, grated parmesan, the bread and milk mush, crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Mix everything thoroughly with your hands.
  3. Gently shape the mixture into small round balls about 2.5cm (1 inch) in diameter. Roll the meatballs in the dry breadcrumbs.
  4. In a large frying pan, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Add the meatballs in a single layer (fry in two batches if necessary), and brown on both sides, turning them carefully so that they don't break.
  5. When browned remove the meatballs to a plate and set aside.
  6. Turn the heat off under the frying pan, then add the passata, fill the bottle with 200mls of water and swish around before adding it to the frying pan too. Add ⅓ cup of milk, and season with salt and pepper. Stir to thoroughly combine the liquids.
  7. Return the meatballs to the frying pan, and bring to the boil before reducing to a low heat. Simmer for 15 - 20 minutes while the pasta is cooking, stirring occasionally. If the sauce becomes too thick add a little water.
  8. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet.
  9. Divide the pasta between serving bowls, top with meatballs and grated parmesan.
Recipe by Villiers Brown at