Saucy Meatball Pasta – Italian South African Recipe

Saucy Meatball Pasta – Italian South African Recipe

This saucy meatball pasta is my version of an Italian South African recipe.  An inexpensive dish made with love and care, are those not the recipes that you remember forever?

A recipe cooked the same way for years with a slight bit of tweaking here and there to suit our personal taste, loved by family and friends and our go to sauce for an easy no fail recipe.

I have made different versions of this red sauce like this best meatballs cooked in red wine on a simmer.  The pasta, rice, vegetable or sides can change to suit the meal but the sauce recipe stays the same. The only difference may be quick or slow cooking depending on what you are making.

Another meatballs and sauce recipe using the same basic ingredients but the healthier version of meatballs where there is no bread or breadcrumbs used is my Paleo Whole30 Delicious Meatballs in Tomato Sauce.

saucy meatball pasta



Anosmic Kitchen is a food blog based around fabulous recipes, tasty food cooked with easy to find ingredients. More on this in my about me page coming soon. So meals like this meatballs and sauce or any pasta meals are perfect for weeknight dinners and those one pot meals that we all love!


This recipe uses half and half – beef and pork mince.  Why?  Because of flavor that’s why!  I have made meatballs with just chicken mince, just beef mince and just pork mince and my opinion is that although they were equally good if I had to rate them I would go with pork first, beef second and chicken 3rd.  The chicken meatballs I found were not as juicy as the pork and the beef mince definitely has loads of flavor so the perfect solution was to combine the top two in my books! Beef and Pork.


Is there anything better than a tangy red sauce? Robust, slow cooked in onions and garlic and heightened by the juicy meatball flavors. I love red sauce but I love red sauce more when simmering on the stove and I can only imagine how incredible it smells because it makes me feel so happy.

Any sauce really is the perfect base that blends in so well with a variety of foods which result in a great tasting meal.  You can make red sauce from fresh tomatoes or canned tomato it just depends on if you have fresh tomatoes on hand and the time to cook them otherwise there are some fantastic brands of canned tomato. This recipe went with a good quality canned tomato, cooked in onion and garlic on medium heat, dropped to a simmer until thick and saucy.


Pasta is a pantry or kitchen cupboard staple in many homes because of the ease and versatility of cooking it. This is basic cooking for anyone starting out to cook.  Boil water, bring it to a boil, add salt and toss in your pasta – you already have a meal.  For the timing of how long the pasta should cook, that information is on the packet instructions but generally pasta cooks for 8 to 10 minutes al dente.  No one wants to eat soggy pasta and the packet instructions may not always be accurate depending on what pasta you are cooking. For example if the packet says 12 minutes for spaghetti that may lead you to end up with over cooked pasta so check it because from my experience it only need 8 or 9 minutes max 10!

You can add simple ingredients to a pot of pasta to make a meal:

  • oil
  • garlic
  • herbs & spices
  • oil and chili
  • garlic oil & chili
  • tomato sauce
  • any veg based sauces
  • fresh veg
  • meat
  • fish

As you can see from the list above that you can use just one ingredient with a bowl of pasta to have a delicious meal.

Pasta Brands

Again, as with all ingredients the quality of the pasta is just as important. Naturally you can use any brand but using a low quality type pasta will definitely result in a different taste.  There are many brands out there just use your personal favorite.


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Recipe Option One – One Pot Cooking Saucy Meatballs in Pasta

The difference with this pasta recipe lies in the making of the meatballs and when to add the pasta.  You can either cook the pasta separately or you can add the pasta into the sauce to cook.  The image below is exactly the same recipe with the exception that the pasta is added into the sauce to cook and not cooked in a separate pot.


Once you have fried the meatballs (not cooked just browned on the outside) you set them aside, add the tomato sauce ingredients, let it cook, add the spaghetti and then bring the meatballs back into the pan to cook on simmer until the pasta is done.  The result is this recipe image below. A thick tasty sauce in pasta and meatballs also with amazing flavor!

This recipe is perfect for one pot cooking and best served immediately.

saucy meatball pasta



Recipe Option Two – Two Pots – Pasta and Sauce 

If you are making this recipe to be eaten later and not immediately then I would suggest that you go for this option as I have done here.  The difference is that you cook the pasta separately and add it to the sauce just before serving. In this way it takes much less time to cook in the sauce so is still holds some lightness to it whereas in option one – because you can add raw spaghetti to the sauce it cooks into the sauce making it a thicker sauce pasta.

saucy meatball pasta

saucy meatball pasta



If you try this Saucy Meatballs Pasta Recipe please leave a comment below letting me know how it goes! Also, if you take any pictures of your creation and share it on Instagram, please make sure to tag me @anosmickitchen and use the hashtag #anosmickitchen so that I don’t miss your post!



If your tomatoes are not chopped use a potato masher to gently mash them down into bits just so that there are no uneven large pieces of tomato in your sauce.

Pour in a drop of water into each can after emptying it and toss that into the pan.


I find it easier to grate the onion so that you don’t end up with cubed pieces of onion sticking out of the meatballs.

Use 1 tablespoon measure and scoop spoonfuls of the meatball mix and plop each spoonful onto a plate. Then roll each spoonful into a ball, this gives you more or less the same size.

It’s important to not play with the meatball mix when rolling. Roll and be done and get them in the fridge to set because the more you roll and ‘play’ with the mix the harder the meatballs are.


You are free to use regular store bough or home made breadcrumbs but the sliced white bread is soft and easily holds the ingredients together.  It also gives the meatballs a nice plump look and feel. The grated onion and soft bread combination is brilliant because the juices of the grated onion soak into the bread adding even more flavor to the meatballs.

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This saucy meatball pasta is my version of an Italian South African recipe.  An inexpensive dish made with love and care, are those not the recipes that you remember forever?

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian, South African
Keyword meatballs, pasta, sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 10 people



  • 2 cans chopped tomato
  • 2 cups passata
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 3 fresh cloves of garlic (sliced/chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp sweet basil
  • 2 tbsps oil
  • 2 tsps salt


  • 500 grams beef mince
  • 400 grams pork mince
  • 5 slices white bread (torn apart without crusts)
  • 1 onion (grated)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coriander spice
  • 1 tsp cumin spice
  • 1 tbsp dried chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • oil for frying the meatballs


  • 500 grams spaghetti (1 packet)
  • 1/4 cup white cheddar cheese (grated) (for finishes)
  • flat Italian parsley (for finishes)



  • Combine all the meatball ingredients into a bowl except oil for frying.
    Do not use the crusts of the bread only the inside.
    Grate rather than chop the onion.
    Using your hands mix the ingredients and roll into balls. (see Recipe Notes)
    Leave the meatballs to set in the fridge for 30 minutes.
    Heat the oil in a skillet and fry the meatballs till golden brown (not cooked) and set aside.


  • Same skillet heat the oil (oil for frying meatballs) and cook the onions and garlic till translucent. (Glossy see through color)
  • Pour in the stock and let it cook on medium heat for roughly 5 minutes. Just so the onions and garlic can blend in with the stock but still leaving liquid in the pan.
  • Pour in the canned tomatoes one can at a time and let it cook for 10 minutes on medium heat with the dried basil and salt (See recipe notes)
  • Return the meatballs and add the passata & water. Taste and season accordingly. Cook for a further 10 minutes on low heat to simmer until it reaches a saucy tomato sauce by which time the meatballs will be cooked.
  • In a separate pot cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Drain reserving a cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta into the sauce and meatballs in the last 5 minutes of the sauce cooking time. If it needs any more liquid use the reserved pasta water.
    Once off the heat, add the grated white cheddar cheese and flat Italian parsley and place the lid on the pot. The heat from the food and pot will melt the cheese and slightly wilt the parsley.



saucy meatball pasta

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