Friday, January 16, 2015

Spaghetti With Spiced Meatballs In Tomato Sauce

"Along The Spice Trail", the theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). I love cooking with spices. For this week's time, I've made Diana Henry's, Spiced Meatballs In Tomato Sauce, served over spaghetti.

Simmer the meatballs in the prepared sauce. Smells nice!

What I like about this sauce is, it is really easy peasy. There's no browning of the onions and no dishes to wash! Simply chop the onions and garlic, and dump them straight into the stewing pot along with the other ingredients for the sauce ; canned tomatoes, oregano, tomato puree, light brown sugar, salt and pepper and olive oil. Let the sauce comes to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes, stirring from time to time. My family love more sauce for their pasta, so I have used three cans of tomato instead of two. I did not have any canned cherry tomatoes, so I have used one can of chopped tomatoes and two cans of plum tomatoes which I crushed before cooking. And did not have fresh oregano leaves (my plant died!), so I've used a tablespoon of dried oregano.

While the sauce is simmering, prepare the meatballs, as per instructions in the recipe. I've used ground pork instead of beef. Ingredients for the meatballs ; onion, garlic, red chilli, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground mixed spice, chopped coriander (did not have any parsley). Season well. Fry a small chunk to test on the seasoning. Form the meat into meatballs, then browned them in a little oil. Remove and put them into the sauce, and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through. Check on the seasoning, I added another tablespoon of brown sugar to balance off the flavours. Serve over spaghetti.

Spaghetti with Spiced Meaballs in Tomato Sauce, delicious!

The meatballs uses quite a fair amount of cinnamon and ground mixed spice. I have however used ground nutmeg instead of grated. At first I thought that the spices would be too strong, but they balances off really deliciously with the meat. Stir through the spaghetti with the sauce, top with more sauce and some meatballs, sprinkle with chopped coriander, and enjoy!

Spiced Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
(adapted from "Food From Plenty", Diana Henry)
Serves 6
For the sauce :
2 x 400 cans tomatoes (ideally cherry) in thick juice (I've used one can of chopped tomatoes and two cans of plum tomatoes which I've crushed before cooking)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
leaves from 4 oregano sprigs (dried oregano)
1/2 tbsp tomato puree (use 3 tbsps tomato puree)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp soft light brown sugar
salt and pepper

For the meatballs :
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
900gm (2lb) minced beef
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 tsp ground mixed spice
3 tbsp finely chopped parsley

  1. First make the sauce. Put all the ingredients into a saucepan (no need to brown anything) and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and leave to cook for 30 minutes, the sauce will thicken and the tomatoes collapse. Stir from time to time, adding a little water if needed. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  2. For the meatballs, put 1 tbsp of the oil into a pan and cook the onion until soft and pale gold. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for another minute and a half. Put this into a bowl with the beef, spices and parsley. Season really well. Pull off a little chunk and fry in some oil. Eat. This helps you decide whether you need more seasoning or spices. Form the beef into meatballs using wet hands.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and brown the meatballs in batches. You don't need to cook them through; just colour the outside. Once they are done, tip in the tomato sauce and stir gently. Cook for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Serve with pasta (penne or spaghetti are both good; you'll need 100gm/3-1/2oz per person). Stir it with the sauce and meatballs in a large heated shallow bowl and serve.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
"Along The Spice Trail"

grab button for I Heart Cooking Clubs



Little Thumbs Up January 2015 : Pasta/Noodles organised by Zoe of Bake For Happy Kids, Doreen of My Little Favourite D.I.Y, and hosted by Anne of My Bare Cupboard.



  1. This spaguetti sauce look delicious!
    I love the meatballs !!

  2. This sounds yummy Joyce, I'm sure my kids would love it!

  3. ooh, nice saucy spaghetti dish Joyce! i can indulge in this , having the same thing day after day

  4. My husband's favourite meal. It looks really nice!

  5. Joyce , I remember using cinnamon in meatballs before and it was very delicious indeed :D I really need to make meatballs asap !

  6. This is one of our favorite meals, but I'm intrigued by your spices in the meatballs - I bet they are delicious!

  7. Hi Joyce,
    Fragrance spicy meatballs in thick tomato sauce ...your spaghetti with spiced meatballs in tomato sauce must be delicious!

  8. This sounds amazing! I am always up for some spaghetti!

  9. Hi Joyce , I will try the spices in my next meatballs , yours looks so delicious seems I can just taste the goodness :)

  10. That certainly looks good and such a classic!! xo Catherine

  11. That is such a delicious meal! One of our all-time favorites.

  12. Joyce, your spaghetti sauce looks wonderful especially the meatballs!

  13. That's a delicious looking plate of pasta! What an intriguing blend of spices for the meatballs, a great choice for this week's spice theme.

  14. I love the idea of testing the meatballs prior to cooking the whole batch. Really gives you the opportunity to adjust the seasoning to suit your needs. This looks like a wonderful and comforting pasta supper :) One my family would love for sure!

  15. So often in spaghetti and meatball dishes the sauce has all the spice and flavor and the meatballs are bland so I really like all of the flavor in these meatballs. Perfect! ;-)

  16. Hi Joyce,

    I have always seen many famous chefs using freshly grated nutmeg for their cooking on TV and they swear by it... but like you, I always use ground nutmeg instead :p Still smelling good lah... same same :D

    Your spaghetti with spiced meatballs must be very fragrant!


  17. Joyce, I love how easy you made the sauce. It always strikes a chord with me whenever I hear, no browning of onions, no dishes to wash and 1 pot to wash only :) I love how good your meatballs look and I'm sure I would also be skeptical on the spices added. And the meatballs looks so good or even better than those sold in Ikea :)