Spaghetti and Meatballs

This may be the best pasta sauce you have ever eaten!  The tomato based sauce is sweet and savory and is flavored with fresh artichokes and plenty of herbs.  Grab your favorite bottle of wine and enjoy a heaping plate of pasta today!

Spaghetti and Meatballs is a popular dish in most countries, and Japan is no exception.  Japan has thousands of Italian restaurants including chains like Italian Tomato, and spaghetti is also a popular dish in many Japanese restaurants and cafes.  In my house this is a dinner I like to prepare on Friday night after a tough week of school and work.  I hope that you enjoy this dish as much as we do!

Spaghetti and Meatballs (スパゲッティとミートボール)

In staying with the these of Mountain Plums, I wanted to give you a recipe that is easy to make.  The recipe uses mostly dried herbs and seasonings and a single pot to prepare both the meatballs and the sauce.  The recipe leaves it to you what pasta you want to serve this with.  I usually use dry spaghetti or penne, but feel free to use whatever pasta you prefer.  Make sure to grate some cheese to top off this dish.

15 minutes 45 minutes 4 generous servings
PREP 15 minutes
COOKING 45 minutes
YIELD 4 generous servings



  • 1.1 lb ground beef (500g)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 TBSP dried oregano leaves’
  • 1 TBSP onion powder
  • 1 TBSP dried basil leaves
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 TBSP Olive oil for cooking

Tomato Sauce

  • 3 medium fresh tomatoes
  • 1 14oz can whole, peeled tomatoes (400g)
  • 1 6oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained (170g)
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste
  • 2 TBSP chopped sundried tomato
  • 1 shallot, diced finely
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 1 TBSP dried basil leaves
  • 1 TBSP dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 TBSP olive oil

Pasta and Cheese

  • 1 lb dried spaghetti or your favorite pasta
  • Romano or Parmesan cheese


  • Using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix all of the meatball ingredients except the olive oil.

  • Form the meat into 8 or 9 equal size balls.  Brown in a frypan in 1 TBSP olive oil over medium high heat for 2 minutes turning carefully after 1 minute.  Meatballs do not need to be completely browned.

  • Remove from heat and set aside.
  • In a large frypan, sauté the shallot in the olive oil over medium high for 2 minutes until cooked through.  Add the sundried tomato, tomato paste and anchovy paste and cook for another minutes until well combined.

  • Remove the skin from the fresh tomatoes if desired (see notes for directions on how to remove the skin).
  • Slice the tomatoes into 4-6 pieces and add to the frypan.

  • Cook for 2-3 minutes breaking apart the tomatoes with a spoon until the tomatoes are crushed and well combined with the other ingredients.

  • Add the artichokes, dry spices and honey.  Stir for another minutes until the ingredients are all combined.

  • Add the canned whole tomatoes and cook over medium high heat for two more minutes while using a wooden spoon to break apart the tomatoes.

  • Add the meatballs back into the sauce and spoon some sauce over each meatball.

  • Bring the sauce back to a boil over medium high heat.  Turn the heat down to medium low, cover and maintain a low boil for 30 minutes.  Occasionally stir with a spoon to ensure the meatballs cook evenly and the sauce does not burn.  After 30 minutes, the meatballs and sauce will be ready.

  • While the sauce is cooking, grate up some fresh cheese and prepare the spaghetti or pasta in accordance with the directions on the package.
  • Serve.  Plate the dish with pasta on the bottom topped with sauce, meatballs, and sprinkled with cheese to taste.



How to remove the skin from tomatoes:

  • Cross-cut the tomatoes.  Put in boiling water for 3 minutes.  The skin will start to lift off in the water.  Drain the tomatoes and peel by hand under cold water.

  • To make more sauce, add an additional cup of tomato sauce (200ml) along with the crushed tomatoes.
  • If you like your meatballs softer, omit the panko and soak two slices of white bread with the crusts removed in 3/4 cup of milk for 15 minutes.  Drain out the extra milk and used the softened bread in place of the panko.


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