Spaghetti and meatballs: Pork and beef polpette with spaghettini and fontina

Spaghetti and meatballs served with slow-roasted cherry tomatoes and fontina cheese.
Spaghetti and meatballs served with slow-roasted cherry tomatoes and fontina cheese. Photo: Katrina Meynink
Dietary
Kid-friendly

This sauce is the gift that keeps on giving. Use the leftover sauce to douse plain pasta or even boiled eggs. It is worth the small effort of making it from scratch – the flavour is glorious.

Ingredients

Polpette

500g pork mince

250g beef mince

2 small free-range eggs

75g sourdough bread (about one slice), coarsely torn, softened in 1 tbsp milk

small pinch chilli flakes

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tbsp​ flatleaf parsley leaves, chopped

salt and pepper to season

Tomato sauce

100ml extra virgin olive oil

1 white onion, finely sliced

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 tsp chilli flakes (or to taste)

salt and pepper to season

750g fresh tomatoes, quartered

3 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

1½ tbsp oregano leaves, chopped

castor sugar to taste

To serve

about 100g pasta per serve

slow-roasted cherry tomatoes on the vine (optional)

pinch chilli flakes (optional)

½ cup basil leaves, loosely packed

fontina cheese, grated

Method

1. Combine the meatball ingredients in a bowl, using your hands to work the herbs and spices through the meat mixture. Roll into golf balls (or whatever size meatballs you prefer) and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover and place in the fridge until ready to cook.

2. For the tomato sauce, heat half the oil in a saucepan over medium heat and gently fry the onion, garlic, chilli, salt and pepper for 15 minutes or until onions are glossy and transparent. Add the fresh tomatoes and the rest of the oil and simmer over low heat for another 15 minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes, and simmer over low heat for one hour.

3. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the chopped oregano. Add sugar to taste – this will depend on how sweet your tomatoes are – and adjust seasoning if necessary. Allow to cool slightly before transferring to a blender and blitz until smooth. (This will make about 1.5 litres of sauce.)

4. Preheat the oven to 220C. Remove the meatballs from the fridge and bring to room temperature before roasting in the oven for 10 minutes, turning once until they are starting to brown.

5. Pour half the tomato sauce into a large saucepan, add the meatballs and ensure they are thoroughly coated in sauce. Poach the meatballs in the sauce for 10-12 minutes.

6. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Drain, divide among serving bowls and top with meatballs (between two to four a person) and any extra sauce. Season with salt, pepper and chilli flakes (if using), scatter over basil leaves and generously cover in fontina. Serve hot.