Spaghettini with Ricotta Meatballs

Bucatini Amatriciana Crespelle with Spinach and ricotta



  • 70 gr of crustless stale bread soaked in 120 ml of milk
  • 120g ricotta cheese
  • 500g pork and veal mince (combined) 
  • 1 egg
  • 40g grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 2-3 tblsp of chopped parsley
  • 1/4 tsp of grated nutmeg
  • Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning


  • 1 small brown onion or French shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/4 of a red capsicum, in one piece
  • 150ml of red wine
  • 800ml of Mutti Passata (ideally Mutti Passata Gastronomia Baby Roma, but Classic is fine also) 
  • 400ml of water
  • A few parsley leaves
  • A few celery leaves plus some to add to the finished dish
  • 50ml of Monini Classico Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

How to prepare

  1. Soak the bread in milk in a large mixing bowl for 20 minutes, then use your hands to mash it into a pulp. 
  2. Add ricotta, mince, egg, cheese, parsley, nutmeg, lemon rind and a little salt and pepper and mix well (using your hands is best here) to create an even paste. Rest it in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Heat up the oil in a large heavy based pan, shape mandarin sized meatballs and fry them off (in batches, if needed) to brown them on both sides. 
  4. Add the chopped onion (or French shallot) and cook it together with the meatballs for 1-2 minutes, then deglaze the pan with wine and cook out the alcohol (2-3 minutes).
  5. Add Mutti Passata, water, celery and parsley leaves, capsicum quarter and pinch of salt and bring to a simmer, then turn the heat to low and cook, covered, for 2 hours. 
  6. Taste for salt and adjust to your liking. Discard the exhausted celery and parlay leaves and capsicum. Add some fresh leaves.
  7. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Drop in the spaghetti, stir well and cook until just before al dente. 
  8. Strain the pasta straight into the meatball pan, dragging along some pasta cooking water. Stir well, but gently, not to disturb the soft meatballs. 
  9. Serve hot, with fresh celery leaves, a little grated Parmigiano and a grinding of pepper.