Sarah’s Spaghetti meatballs


Meatballs are known all over the world. They have many different names depending on which country you are in. One of Sarah’s favourite, most requested meals was my spaghetti meatballs. I made them out of boredom with spaghetti bolognese. We would have some sort of pasta dish at least twice a week. She loved it so much that when she came home from varsity on her holidays this was always the meal that she wanted on her first night home. I would beg her to make another request because I thought it so middle of the week boring, but she felt this was the meal that reminded her most of home, happiness, love and comfort. It encapsulated all the things she missed about home. When she left to teach English in South Korea I invited the whole family over for her farewell meal. What did I have to make??? You guessed it, Spaghetti Meatballs.

For the first 20 years of our married life together I cut out red meat. I ate chicken and fish but no beef or lamb. I did however eat ostrich. This was my red meat. I only ever cooked ostrich mince never beef or lamb mince. So, needless to say, my meatballs were not the traditional beef ones that most people enjoyed, but ostrich meatballs. My spaghetti bolognese was also made with ostrich mince. Ostrich mince is a far leaner meat than beef or lamb so the mouth feel is definitely different, but my health choice at that time restricted beef and lamb so my next best alternative was ostrich. I treated it exactly like beef. Over time I didn’t even realise it was any different, but Sarah did when she went to other peoples homes and their mince tasted different.

Just baked meatballs in Napoletana Sauce
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Sarah’s Spaghetti meatballs

Spaghetti meatballs baked in Napoletana Sauce
Servings 6


Tomato Sauce

  • 2 Tbls Olive oil
  • 1 small onion finely chopped (85g)
  • 3 garlic cloves (7-10g) finely chopped
  • 35 g tomato paste
  • 5 ml dried origanum
  • 5 ml dried mixed herbs
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 2 cans Italian chopped tomatoes
  • 10 g fresh basil leaves
  • 10 g Italian flat leaf parsley


  • 500 g ostrich mince please use beef if thats what you like, I do now too or any mincemeat of your choice
  • 100 g grated onion (1 small)
  • 5-7 g grated garlic (2 cloves)
  • 2 Tbls Flat leaf parsley chopped
  • 50 g bread crumbs toasted in pan OR 1 egg I use my sourdough bread blitzed in the nutribullet
  • ½ tsp himalayan salt
  • few cracks pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ Tbls dried oreganum
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 4 Tbls olive oil

Linguine cook according to pkt instructions

  • 500 g linguine
  • 2 Tbs Olive oil


  • 30-50g freshly grated parmesan
  • 2 Tbls pesto


Napoletana Tomato Sauce

  • Add olive oil to pan and fry onion for 2 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and fry for another minute
  • Add the tomato paste to onion mix and fry for 2 minutes
  • The tip here is that the tomato paste brings out the natural sweetness of the onion, which intensifies the flavour of the tomatoes when they are added to the pan.
  • Add the origanum, mixed herbs and sugar. My mom-in-law, Lorna Kinnear, taught me to add a touch of sugar to tomatoes to balance their acidity. She was also a great cook. I always remember her when I do this little trick.
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Add the cans of tomatoes. Here I always try to find the very best tomatoes. These ones from Woolies are my favourite. Please read the lables on the tins. When I was a little more obsessive in my younger days, I did this religiously. I was horrified to see what was added to tomatoes. Try to find ones with just tomatoes. If there is anything to be added, I prefer to be the one doing that.
  • I swirl a little bit of water in the cans to get out all the remaining juices. Now cook on a steady simmer medium heat for about 30 minutes. The key to a great Italian tomato sauce is that it is thick and full of flavour. This is achieved when you start with the best ingredients and reduce the water content to intenstify the flavour.
  • Add the chopped basil and parsley to the tomato sauce and stir through Set aside until ready to use


  • Blits the sourdour or any other bread of choice in a nutribullet until fine bread crumbs. I dry fry my breadcrumbs to get a toasty flavour
  • In a separate bowl add all the meatball ingredients except 2 Tbls of olive oil which will be used for shallow frying. Mix together so that all the ingredients are incorporated and well blended
  • Shape meatballs into 30g-35g torpedos. You should get about 18 balls. Get the kids involved, this is how they learn. Who know's you may get them to cook the entire meal for you in the near future. This meal will serve 4 portions very generously. Sarah and I would have about 3 meatballs each and Brian would have 4. We always had the rest for lunch the next day.
  • Add the 2 Tbls olive oil to a pan. When hot add the meatballs and brown for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Turn the meatballs and repeat on the underside. This step is probably the most important step in building flavour in this dish. If you miss this step your meatballs will just be grey and dull and lacking that added umph of flavour.
  • Arrange the meatballs in a ovenproof caserole dish (23cm x 23 cm). Pour over the tomato sauce
  • Add some pesto to the meatballs if you like – I do!!!!!
  • Pour sauce over meatballs. Grate cheese over top and dot with pesto if you like, yes again! Mozzarella also works very well. It's more cheesy and stringy and stretchy and kids love it no
  • Bake 180ºC 30 min
  • Add the cooked spaghetti / linguine to a big bowl, serve a portion of meatballs (3 works well) If you serve 3 pp this dish will feed 6 people .
  • Enjoy with a salad, garlic bread and lots of olive oil
Cost: Yields 1.366kg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Spaghetti Meatballs

Boulettes de viande French 

Polpette Italian 

Frikkedelle Afrikaans 

Kofta middle East 

Fleischbällchen German 

Albóndiga Spanish 

Frikadel’ki Russian 

Köttbulle Swedish 

Lūkchîn Thai 

Mītobōru Japanese 

Miteubol Korean 

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