Riverford Wicked Leeks
Uncle Vito's Italian style meatballs recipe image

Print Uncle Vito's Italian style meatballs

'Why anyone wants to eat boring old spaghetti bolognese when they could be eating this beats me! This is the kind of food they all sat around eating in The Godfather which probably explains why they were all so fat (except, of course, you, Luca Brassi).' (Ben Watson)


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500-600g spiced meatballs
  • 2 red onions, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Dried chillies to taste (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 250ml red wine
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 150ml crème fraîche
  • 120g Parmesan, grated
  • Pasta of your choice


  1. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and add the meatballs.
  2. Add the chopped red onions, garlic cloves, dried chillies and bay leaves. Cook for about half an hour until the onions begin to brown and the mixture is fairly dry.
  3. Add the red wine, increase heat and cook until most of the wine has evaporated. Add the drained chopped tomatoes and cook at a bare simmer until you have a nice thick sauce.
  4. Add the crème fraiche and grated Parmesan.
  5. Penne, or a similarly chunky pasta, goes well with this sauce.

Cooks notes

The key ingredient is good fresh, high meat content, meatballs (or sausages). We make one with pork, bacon, fennel seeds, rosemary, sage, a touch of chilli, white wine and garlic which is brilliant for this recipe. The Parmesan and cream adds a delicious unctuousness that removes it still further from the British version of Bolognese sauce. If you are using sausages, dip them in cold water, slit the skins and remove the meat. If you are using meat balls don't worry if they fall to pieces - that's the idea.
want to cook with fresh ingredients? try one of our award winning veg boxes