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Spaghetti con polpette (Spaghetti with meatballs)

You'll need

750 gm dried spaghetti 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil To serve: torn basil leaves   Sugo 1½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 1 onion, finely chopped 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 80 ml red wine 1.4 litres tomato passata 2 each fresh bay leaves and thyme sprigs   Polpette 800 gm minced veal 200 gm minced pork 60 gm pine nuts, toasted 50 gm each parmesan and pecorino, finely grated, plus extra to serve 50 gm mild pancetta, finely chopped ¼ cup fine soft white breadcrumbs 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 egg yolk 1 tbsp each coarsely chopped parsley and oregano 2 tsp each coarsely chopped rosemary and thyme 2 tbsp olive oil


  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 190C. For sugo, heat extra-virgin olive oil in a wide shallow saucepan over medium heat, add onion and sauté until starting to soften (5 minutes). Add garlic, sauté until very tender (10-12 minutes), add wine and cook until reduced by one-third (2-4 minutes). Add tomato passata and herbs, bring to the boil, season to taste and set aside.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for polpette, combine ingredients (except olive oil) in a bowl, season to taste and mix with your hands to combine well. Roll golf-ball-sized pieces of mixture in your hands until they start to feel elastic, and set balls aside. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat, add polpette in batches and turn occasionally until golden (2-4 minutes). Add to pan with sugo, season to taste, cover with a lid, transfer to oven and bake until polpette are cooked through and sauce is rich and thick (1 hour).
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente (5-10 minutes). Drain, toss in extra-virgin olive oil and serve with polpette in sugo, scattered with basil leaves and extra parmesan and pecorino.

At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Featured in

May 2010

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