Linguine Arrabiata with Meatballs & Parmesan


A signature dish of Italian cuisine and timeless classic. Spaghetti Arabiatta is an institution, a simple recipe but far from trivial. Subject to endless variations all aiming find the perfect balance of flavours, the right creaminess and sweetness, starts from the choice of the most suitable type of tomato. In summer I make this with fresh tomatoes but the winter ones are just too bland tasting and I prefer the ones that were canned in summer and thus had the chance to be sun-blushed.

Prep time Cook time Total Time
10 min 30 min 40 min

This dish is a real test for those who love to prepare it at home, but also for chefs striving to preserve the secrets of their version. One secret of a delicious Italian tomato sauce lies in the time it simmers usually – tbh I am usually not the most patient cook and during the week don’t want to spend longer than 30 mins until my food is on the table but this really benefits from a slow, gentle cooking. Also, for the preparation of the tomato sauce you need only about 10 minutes, then you can prepare a nice salad to go with it, garlic bread, bruschetta or a nice vegan parmesan while the sauce simmers for 20-30minutes, in order to develop its full aroma.

The recipe below is for four – to cook it, the rule would 1 liter of water and 10 g of salt per 100 g of pasta.


…for the Arrabiata Sauce:

  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 5 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 handful chopped fresh basil
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 350g Linguine or Tagliatelle
  • 1 big pinch of salt
  • Optional: Vegan mince or Meatballs and half a cup of red wine

…for the Meatballs:

  • 50 g bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp onion/garlic powder
  • 1tsp smoked pepper powder
  • 4 tbsp corn flour/starch
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 200 g defrosted vegan mince (or tofu you crumble up with a fork and marinate in soy sauce)
  • 2-3 tbsp of vegan Worcester sauce (or soy sauce)


  1. Add the chopped garlic and onion to a pan along with the olive oil and cook for about 5 mins.
  2. Stir in all remaining ingredients except the tomatoes and mix well
  3. Add the tomatoes and bring to the boil, and let simmer for 20mins on medium heat.
  4. After 10 mins bring a pot with salted water to the boil and add the pasta (any type: my all-time favourite are linguine)
  5. Meanwhile make the meat balls: in a big bowl add mince, breadcrumbs, sauce, corn starch, salt, and spices and mix well. The mixture should be easy to shape if it’s too sticky add more flour or crumbs, if to try add olive oil or more sauce. Give it a try and season to taste then form 12 “meatballs” from this mix. Add olive oil to a heated skillet, add the balls and turn to brown all around. If I make the meatballs, I sometimes throw some sweetcorn, peas or whatever veg I have in the fridge into the mix as well.
  6. Drain the pasta quickly and then add to the sauce right away and top with the meatballs and some basil.
  7. Buon Apetitto!

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