For some strange reason, I’m often not overly keen on events that involve me cooking. I spend so much of my time doing that, I don’t always feel like it when I’m going out. In the end though, I generally always have the most fun at these. And fun it what I had a few weeks ago at the Fairlady magazine readers event. It was a pasta-making workshop held at Jenny Morris’s Cook’s Playground in de Waterkant. The event coincided with the pasta recipe booklet that was included in the May edition of the magazine. Justine Kiggen – the food editor- did a demo on how to make pasta, and then set us off to make 4 different pasta dishes with sauce.

meatballs with Napolitana sauce

meatballs with Napolitana sauce

The recipes were simple and tasty, but these meatballs stood out as being the best recipe of the night. They were juicy and soft and will be my go-to recipe from now on. I added a little extra chilli because I like to feel the heat.

I like to make my meatballs a bit smaller so they cook quicker, and are generally a bit easier to eat. I also like more surface area of meat to undergo caramelisation, but it really is up to you.

Recipe | serves 4


meatballs with spaghetti & napolitana sauce

  • Author: Sam Linsell



2 x 400g tin tomatoes

1/2 cup chicken stock, prepared

2T tomato paste

1t paprika

1/21t dried chilli flakes (or 2 pinches)

2t brown sugar

salt and pepper


2 garlic cloves, crushed

500g beef mince

60g dried bread crumbs

10g parsley, finely chopped

2t dried oregano

salt & pepper

2T tomato paste

12 T olive oil

300g spaghetti, or any long pasta of your choice

Parmesan cheese for serving, freshly grated


Put all the sauce ingredients together in a small pot on the stove and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and starts to thicken.

While that is on the go, mix all the meatball ingredients (mince, garlic, breadcrumbs, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper and tomato paste) together, and roll into small to medium-sized meatballs.

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the meatballs until they turn brown on all sides. Remove and drain on paper towel.

Add the browned meatballs to the Napolitana sauce and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, and cook your pasta to al dente.

Toss some of the sauce through the pasta, portion it out and then top with meatballs and more sauce.

Serve with loads of freshly grated Parmesan.

Keywords: spaghetti, meatballs, classic, recipe



I look forward to connecting with you again in the future.


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  1. Hi Sam, your blog is just beautiful. Each time I read a post, I think that it contains your best pictures yet, and that you can’t possibly get any better. And then you do. Every post. It really is a joy to look at your photographs 🙂

  2. Sam

    Thanks Angela, that is very kind of you to say. I really want to improve as a photographer and work quite hard at creating new effects with lighting etc.

  3. Hi Sam, your photographs are amazing! You have the same style as Katie Quinn Davies. I want to buy your book but it’s not available in NZ bookstores or online bookstores that deliver to NZ with minimum cost. It’s in my watchlist! I have roasted tomatoes that I will use with your meatballs recipe. Yum!

  4. Cant wait to try this meatball recipe…I hate dry meatballs!!!
    It looks so yummy

  5. Sam

    Gemma, you will not be disappointed. Make sure you don’t overcook them in the sauce.

  6. Sam

    Hi Dolly, thank you for the very kind words and very high praise indeed. My book is not available in NZ, but can be ordered via
    Roasted tomatoes will be lovely in this sauce.

  7. Sam

    Thanks Laura, we have been having the most awful storms in Cape Town over the last week, so this dark and moody reflects how I fee right now, and the type of food I am eating.

  8. Made the Meatballs on Monday and it was absolutely delish!! And leftovers even better the next day.

  9. Sam

    Stunning Mareli, they are so divine.

  10. Liz Thomas

    Another blast from the past for me! Fair Lady still going strong. When I lived in SA in the ’70’s I bought the Fair Lady Cookbook and still have it. Just been looking at it and it does seem tame compared to where cooking has got to today!

    Those meatballs look great!


  11. Sam

    HI Liz, I agree, but love to look at older cookbooks and then just update. Take ideas form t he past and bring them into today.

  12. Liz Thomas

    Oh! I agree with you there. I meant that it looks so old fashioned but there are some good recipe ideas there. I have tons of old cookery books!

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