Italian Meatballs with Linguine and Ricotta

Beef MeatballsI had previously posted a recipe for meatballs, but after tasting these I had to replace the original recipe as this dish was incredible. These meatballs were astoundingly succulent, light and delicious – the perfect accompaniment to the tomato sauce I posted yesterday. Alas, they are not entirely my own invention as the recipe is an adaptation of a Jamie Oliver recipe, taken from his first book The Naked Chef. Jamie’s method of cooking his meatballs appealed to me, by doing them in the oven surrounded by sauce there is absolutely no way they are going to dry out.

If I’m being honest these meatballs should be labelled “Italian-American” as I’m not sure this is the exact way in which Italians would serve their meatballs. However, as the recipe was obviously adapted from that brought over by Italian immigrants, I’m sure my readers won’t be too disappointed in my choice of name. If you are I’m afraid I don’t have a personal complaints department, there just isn’t enough room in my bedroom.

I don’t really have any tips to go with this recipe, other than one must remember to bind the meat very thoroughly before rolling into balls. Otherwise, during the cooking process the meat in each individual ball may begin to separate. The possibility of this may be ruled out entirely by chilling in the fridge for an hour or so before cooking. Happily, this will also allow the flavour of the rosemary to permeate the meat more effectively.

Meatballs {recipe}

Serves 4


• 500g lean beef mince

• Good hunk of bread, 2 slices will suffice

• 1 egg yolk

• 1 tbsp of fresh or dried rosemary

• 1 tsp dried basil

• ½ tsp ground cumin

• Salt and pepper

• Olive oil

Frugal Tomato Sauce

• 60g ricotta cheese

• 40g parmesan cheese

• 300-400g linguine, depending on number served


1. In a food processor blend together the bread, rosemary, basil, seasoning and cumin – it wants to be the consistency of breadcrumbs. In a large bowl mix together the mince, a couple of handfuls of the bread mix, the yolk and a little olive oil. If it’s a little wet add extra breadcrumbs. Roll this mixture into between 8 and 10 golf ball sized meatballs, set aside – preferably in the fridge.

2. Heat the oven to 200C. If using a cast iron casserole pot, place it on the hob, add a good slosh of olive oil and brown off the meatballs. If not, use a frying pan to brown off the meatballs, before transferring them to your dish of choice. Pour the pre-made tomato sauce over the meatballs, making sure they are evenly covered. In between eat meatball place a little ricotta, before covering it all in a layer of finely grated parmesan. Cook in the oven for roughly 20 minutes, cover if necessary.

3. Serve on a bed of linguine, which will need to begin cooking roughly 10-12 minutes before serving.


This meal will cost in the region of £5, depending on how much the meat was. I didn’t get it reduced this time so it was around £3 – but if cautious one could get it at a thoroughly reduced price of £1.50. This means that each portion comes in at a scrumptious £1.25.

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47 comments on “Italian Meatballs with Linguine and Ricotta

  1. cookinginsens
    August 30, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Looks great! I’ll have to look for that book.

    • frugalfeeding
      August 30, 2011 at 8:27 pm

      You can get it for as little as £2.50 on amazon :D. I’d say it is his best, or second best book… that I’ve read.

  2. Lucky Duck
    August 31, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Oh wow, this recipe looks uh-mazing! Thanks for sharing this. Overall, I LOVE your blog!

    • frugalfeeding
      August 31, 2011 at 12:06 am

      Thanks so much :D. So glad you visited 🙂

  3. countrywoodsmoke
    August 31, 2011 at 8:32 am

    One of my favourite meals, good tip on cooking in the oven, like the idea of tucking the ricotta between the meatballs

  4. susartandfood
    August 31, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Sounds delicious. Will add to my things to try when I get back home.

  5. rubyandwheaky
    August 31, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Yummmmmm……meatballs! I haven’t made meatballs in at least two years. Now I know what I want for Sunday dinner this weekend. Thanks for the great idea!

  6. Dana - Food for Thought
    August 31, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    There’s nothing like a big plate of pasta, sauce and meatballs! This version sounds so fantastic and comforting!

  7. Nise en Scène
    August 31, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    This looks amazing. And I like it that you used your homemade tomato sauce! 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      August 31, 2011 at 4:50 pm

      Thanks! Yes me too, it’s because it’s extremely delicious :D. I’m going to make more and store it I reckon.

  8. experiment
    August 31, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    wow looks delicious! i’ll have to try out this recipe sometime! 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      August 31, 2011 at 5:47 pm

      Thanks so much, please do – It;s really worth it!

  9. ceciliag
    August 31, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    fantastic. i am always up for meatballs! I will be making these in the next few days for sure.. c

  10. spinach&spice
    August 31, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    These look amazing! I love your recipe collection as well as your blog layout and photography. You have a great site here!

  11. Edyth Miles
    August 31, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    I love Italian cooking because it’s all about simplicity and quality ingredients. This recipe looks yummy and I think I’ll have a go at this on the weekend 😉

    • frugalfeeding
      August 31, 2011 at 7:21 pm

      Thanks, I really hope you do. It was AMAZING. Probably my favourite dish on my blog.

  12. daisy
    August 31, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Looks absolutely delicious!

  13. alliem4
    September 1, 2011 at 4:06 am

    This looks amazing, love Jamie Oliver’s older, more simple recipes…glad this one didn’t get lost in the mix…

    • frugalfeeding
      September 1, 2011 at 2:56 pm

      I completely agree. I’ll see what other gems he has soon.

  14. cityhippyfarmgirl
    September 1, 2011 at 4:31 am

    They look wonderful, and an easy meal to prepare ahead of time as well.

  15. Lauren With a Twist
    September 1, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Those meatballs look to die for! Absolutely delish. I posted a whole wheat spaghetti with chicken meatballs on my Mangiamo (Lite!) blog that I may need to alter to include fat-free ricotta! yum.

    • frugalfeeding
      September 1, 2011 at 3:48 pm

      They were amazing! Do add it, it really lifts the dish I think.

  16. ....RaeDi
    September 2, 2011 at 12:08 am

    Wonderful, love the picture too….RaeDi

  17. Karina
    September 2, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Sigh, this made me regret starting a diet today. Looks great!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 2, 2011 at 9:24 am

      What diet are you on? This isn’t an unhealthy meal, anyone who tells you it is… is wrong.

      • Karina
        September 3, 2011 at 7:39 am

        It is definitely wholesome and healthy, but I’m trying to cut back the carbs for the next couple of weeks. I turn 30 and must be at my prime haha

  18. omgyummy
    September 2, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    Love meatballs and I’m always looking for a creative, tasty, and simple way to prepare them. Like the idea of browning and then finishing with the sauce in the oven. Have to check out your tomato sauce now too.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and checking out my baby back ribs post. I don’t know how frugal they are although thinking about it, based on the number of people they served, maybe not so bad. And boy are they tasty!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 2, 2011 at 8:46 pm

      Thanks a lot. I really liked your post 😀

  19. cornstalk
    September 4, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Yum! tomorrow nights dinner for me. And to think people look down on mince. Why do you brown them beore putting in the oven?

    • frugalfeeding
      September 9, 2011 at 5:49 pm

      Hope it went well! They’re are browned to give them all over colour and to keep them together whilst they cook!

  20. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    September 9, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    I love how you use ricotta in this dish, so wonderful. I normally just do spaghetti and meatballs, will have to remember this twist.

  21. sourdoughtheangrybaker
    September 10, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Love meatballs and linguine, will be making this soon. Living in a cramped NY apartment means I don’t have access to the abundance of beautiful natural light like you do for your shots. I’ll have to fake it, or cook earlier in the morning

    • frugalfeeding
      September 10, 2011 at 5:43 pm

      Yeh me too, so lovely :D. It’s nice having a garden that gets lots of light as that room looks out onto it. You could fake it but lightbulb light is yellow and no good for food photos.

  22. Hot Pink Manolos
    September 18, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    This looks RIDICULOUSLY delicious!! 🙂

  23. Colleen
    October 23, 2011 at 1:54 am

    The ricotta in between the meatballs is a great idea.

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