Donna Hay’s classic spaghetti and meatballs

Yes, they are not cooked at this point.

Serves: 4 – 6

Nat and I don’t have nearly as many long, liquid lunches as we would like to.

But on occasions, the stars align and there we are, contemplating a third dessert whilst working our way through the cheese plate and a fancy red of some description.

Cooking and eating pasta is also about a rare as these long lunch occasions.

And that’s because the two are linked.

For you should only eat pasta when nothing else will do.

And nothing else will do than pasta after a long lunch and a few bottles of vino.

And so here we were, a long lunch at Gowings completed and ready for our pasta hit.

Enjoy this one. It is everything you’ll want and nothing you won’t. Just make sure you make it in advance like I did.


1½ c fresh white breadcrumbs
½ c milk
500g veal (or beef) mince
500g pork mince
2 eggs
3 cloves garlic, crushed
½ c sage leaves, finely chopped
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, extra, crushed
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 c (250ml) beef stock
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
¼ c thyme leaves, chopped
500g spaghetti
1 c basil leaves
Finely grated parmesan, to serve


  1. Place the breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl and mix well to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes or until the milk is absorbed.
  2. Add the beef and pork mince, eggs, garlic, sage, salt and pepper and mix well to combine. Using wet hands, roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a deep, large frying pan over high heat. Cook the meatballs in batches, turning frequently, for 4–5 minutes or until browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining oil, onion and garlic to the pan and cook for 5–7 minutes or until lightly golden. Add the tomato paste and balsamic vinegar, stir to combine and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock, tomatoes, thyme, salt and pepper, stir to combine and bring to the boil.
  5. Add the meatballs and simmer for 15–20 minutes or until the sauce is reduced and the meatballs are cooked through.
  6. While the meatballs are cooking, place the spaghetti in a large saucepan of salted boiling water and cook for 8–10 minutes or until al dente.
  7. Drain and serve the spaghetti topped with the meatballs, basil leaves and parmesan.

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