The Best Baked Meatballs Recipe


For the tomato sauce:

  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 700g passata
  • 75ml dry red wine
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried red chilli flakes
  • 1 mozzarella balls, sliced
  • Salt & pepper

For the meatballs:

  • 250g good quality minced beef
  • 250g good quality minced pork
  • 100g pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 60ml buttermilk
  • 50g breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano, chopped
  • A small handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 large free range egg, lightly beaten
  • 50g parmesan cheese, finely grated (keeping a little extra back)
  • Salt & pepper

To serve:

  • Cooked spaghetti


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs. Season with salt and pepper and mix until completely and evenly combined.
  2. Form large golf ball sized meatballs by rolling them in your hands. Transfer to a large baking sheet. Keeping a small bowl of cold water for dipping your hands in after each meatballs will prevent things getting too sticky.
  3. Repeat with the remaining mixture, cover and leave in the fridge to firm up for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Place a large frying pan over a medium high heat and add a good glug of olive oil. If all the meatballs don’t fit in the pan at once, fry half the meatballs until browned on all sides, this will take 8-10 minutes, and then transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper. If doing two batches, wipe out the pan with kitchen paper, add another glug of oil and fry the remaining batch.
  5. Preheat the oven to 150˚C/300°F/Gas Mark 2. Drain any excess oil from the pan and place back on a low heat, add the garlic and slowly simmer until just golden but not browned.
  6. Pour in the passata and red wine and stir through. Season with dried oregano, chilli flakes, salt & pepper. Bring to a steady simmer and allow to cook for 5-6 minutes before adding the meatballs to the pan and gently turning to coat them in the sauce with a tablespoon. Cover the pan with a lid and transfer to the oven.
  7. Cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Towards the end of the cooking time, turn up the oven to 220°C/450°F/Gas Mark 8 and dot the meatballs with mozzarella and the remaining parmesan and return to the oven.
  8. Serve the baked meatballs with spaghetti cooked in a pot of well seasoned boiling water until al dente and sprinkle generously with grated Parmesan cheese.

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