meatballs in tomato sauce with Linguini and peas

A few weeks ago I went to dinner at a  friends house.  She is also a foodie, and had wanted to make this particular recipe for dinner.  There was a lot going on, so I landed up making the meatballs.  That night we doubled the quantities, and substituted some of the spices, added others and generally had a lot of fun in a collaborative cooking effort. There was a lot of wine.

The results were fantastic so thought I’d like to share with you.

I know meatballs are pretty everyday and ordinary.  Italian meatballs in tomato sauce with spaghetti have to be one of my favourite comfort meals.

These meatballs are a little bit different, and I just loved the cinnamon, cumin and coriander flavours.  So warm and comforting.  Your home will smell fantastic while you cook. There is a lot of garlic and I love the way the sweetness of the peas explode in your mouth adding a whole new texture and taste dimension.

The tomato sauce is not that spicy, so next time I would add at least 1/2 teaspoon on chilli.

This recipe will serve 4-6 people, depending on how big the eaters.

what you need for the meatballs:

  • 350 – 450gms mince (the original recipe is for half pork and half veal mince)
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs (I left this out)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil to fry

For the tomato sauce:

  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
  • 400gm – 425g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 80 – 125g frozen peas

How to make:


  • Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion until soft
  • add the garlic and cook for a minute
  • increase the heat and and add the wine and allow to boil for about a minute
  • add all the rest of the ingredients and allow to gently simmer
  • while its simmering make the meatballs


  • Mix all the meatball ingredients in a bowl by hand
  • Roll about a tablespoon into balls or bigger if you prefer
  • heat the oil in a frying pan and then gently fry the balls, turning frequently until brown
  • drain on kitchen paper
  • add the meatballs (they can be uncooked all the way through) to the tomato sauce and cook for about 5 minutes
  • Add the peas about 5 minutes before serving

Serve with pasta or crusty Italian bread

Unless I’m testing, I never follow a recipe when I make a tomato sauce. I just add what I’m in the mood for and adjust the seasoning as I go.  The same should apply with this sauce.  I think a bit of chilli or smoked chilli would be very nice here and would compliment the very aromatic meatballs.  It’s got a slight North African vibe to it.

I would also use pork mince next time instead of beef, I never eat veal.

I am not sure if these turned out as well as Laeni and my joint effort, but pretty tasty nevertheless.

Born up a tree!

Meatballs with tomato sauce perfect comfort food


  1. Love all the little hidden flavors you ahve added here…cumin, corriander …yum!!!

  2. Lovely stuff. I love doing this with lentil balls. Once had the most perfect small quail egg sized ones at Bizerca Bistro with a tomatoey sauce Milanese . Lots of parmesan. Somehow their petite size made them all the more delicious.

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