Classic Penne & Meatballs Recipe

Classic Penne & Meatballs

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Serves about 4-5
  • 250g minced beef
  • 500g minced pork
  • about 6 fresh sage leaves, very finely chopped
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1 slice white bread, finely grated or blitzed
  • 2 cans plum tomatoes (or chopped tomatoes)
  • 1 large red chilli, very finely chopped
  • 250g mushrooms, halved and finely sliced
  • 1tbsp tomato purée
  • 500ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • 4 rashers streaky bacon, very finely sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • about 400g dried penne
  • 6 or so fresh basil leaves, 
  • a little fresh oregano (or dried if you prefer)

How to make Classic Penne & Meatballs

The mixture of pork and beef makes for a great meatball - you won't be disappointed by these.  It's up to you how big you make them, obviously, but I got about 24 out of this.
  1. Mix the pork, beef, onion, sage and a generous amount of seasoning very well in a mixing bowl.  Shape the mixture into balls and reserve.
  2. Gently heat some olive oil in a large, deep, heavy pan.  Add the bacon and mushrooms and fry until bacon is just browning and mushrooms have softened - about 4 or 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato purée & garlic and stir well, cooking for a minute or so but ensuring the mixture doesn't burn - you can turn down the heat or add a splash of water if need be.
  4. Add the cans of tomatoes, breaking up if you use the whole plum ones, and bring back to a simmer.
  5. Add the stock.
  6. Stir well, then add the meatballs.  Cover the pan and cook for 30 minutes, covered.
  7. If you're using dried oregano rather than fresh, add it here.  
  8. Remove the lid and cook for a further 20 minutes or so, reducing until the sauce has thickened to the desired consistency - make the pasta during this time as per packet instructions.
  9. Right at the end, tear the basil and oregano leaves and stir through.  
  10. Mix the pasta through the sauce and serve - add a little grated fresh parmesan if you're feeling decadent.  Enjoy!

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