Caramelized Onion Meatballs and Spaghetti

Caramelized Onion Meatballs and Spaghetti

Caramelized Onion Meatballs and Spaghetti, Posh Pasta by Pip Spence. Photography by Faith Mason.

Posh Pasta by Pip Spence.

Pasta is loved the world over. Whether it’s a pile of saucy spaghetti, a creamy cheesy bake or unctuous buttery parcels, pasta is the go-to dinner choice for millions around the globe—no other food is so versatile, so comforting and so delicious. Fact.

In this latest book in the Posh series, we celebrate the humble bowl of pasta in its many forms and offer amazing new ways to elevate classics, as well as revealing new sure-to-be favourites.

Beginning with clear instructions for basic pasta doughs, followed by recipes on meaty, fishy and veggie pasta, as well as bakes, salads and soups, you’ll have a mouth-watering variety of dishes to choose from every time that pasta craving calls.

From Crispy sausage orecchiette, Spaghetti and meatballs, Crab and saffron linguine, through to Mac and cheese arancini, Hot smoked salmon farfalle salad and Baked aubergine caponata, it’s time to posh-up your pasta!

Feeling fancy? Whip up some homemade pasta dough. Stuck for time? Use store-bought pasta instead. Either way, with easy-to-follow instructions and a photo for every recipe, Posh Pasta is the fool-proof way to indulge in everyone’s favourite carb.

Posh Pasta: Over 70 Recipes, from Perfect Pappardelle to Tempting Tortellini is available at and

Caramelized Onion Meatballs and Spaghetti

A classic Italian-American recipe with a twist! Using onion marmalade gives meatballs an extra sweetness. Try to use the best-quality meat you can find, but in order to achieve a juicy texture, I’d avoid using lean minced beef or pork.


TAKES 1¼ hours

250g (9oz) good-quality minced (ground) pork

250g (9oz) good-quality minced (ground) beef

4 tbsp red onion marmalade

3 small red onions, coarsely grated

40g (1½oz) Parmesan, freshly grated, plus extra to serve

10g (1⁄3oz) basil, leaves picked and stalks finely chopped

10g (1⁄3oz) flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

a few gratings of nutmeg

3 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbsp tomato purée (paste)

1 x 680g (24oz) jar passata (strained tomatoes)

1 tsp red wine vinegar

1 x 125g (4½oz) ball mozzarella

400g (14oz) dried spaghetti

sea salt and black pepper

Place the minced (ground) pork and beef in a large bowl. Add the onion marmalade, a third of the grated onions, the Parmesan, chopped basil stalks, parsley, nutmeg and ½ tsp each of salt and pepper. Scrunch and mix everything together with your hands. Roll the mixture into 16–20 equal-sized balls and place on a plate lined with baking parchment. Cover and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large flameproof casserole over a medium heat. Add the remaining grated onion and the garlic, and cook for 10 minutes or until softened. Add the tomato purée (paste), then pour in the passata (strained tomatoes), vinegar and ¼ passata jar of water. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil, then add half the basil leaves. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Season to taste.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

Place a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the remaining 1 tbsp oil. Add the chilled meatballs in batches to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes until browned all over. Transfer the meatballs to the sauce, cover the casserole with foil and cook in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and increase the oven temperature to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Turn the meatballs over in the sauce, tear over the mozzarella and place back in oven for a further 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pan of boiling, salted water, according to the packet instructions, then drain. Place the casserole in the centre of the table. Serve with the spaghetti, remaining basil leaves and extra Parmesan.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Hardie Grant Books.

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