Monthly Raisin Recipes by Sam Linsell

Raisins add a touch of sweetness to these Southern-Italian inspired meatballs and this recipe will appeal to the whole family. You can either bake or fry the meatballs before adding them to the sauce.

This recipe is enough for 4 people

Tomato sauce

2 tins of chopped tomatoes, preferably from Italian origin
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
50gms butter
½ tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
Salt & pepper

Spaghetti and meatballs

500gms beef mince preferably free-range
2 tsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 free-range egg
¼ cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino
½ cup breadcrumbs (I used panko)
¼ cup seedless raisins
10gms parsley
1 clove garlic, crushed
300gms spaghetti cooked al dente
Additional Parmesan to serve


Make the sauce first by putting all the ingredients into a medium-size pot and bringing it to a simmer. Let it bubble away for 45 minutes to an hour.

When you are ready to make your meatballs, preheat the oven to 175C and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or line with a silicone sheet/baking paper. Make your meatballs by adding the mince, dried oregano, tomato paste, egg, cheese and breadcrumbs to a large bowl.

In a small food processor, blend the raisins, parsley and garlic until it’s a paste. Add this to the bowl with the mince and using your hands, mix until everything is well combined. Season well with salt and pepper. It needs at least 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper.

Roll out your meatballs and place them on the baking sheet allowing space in between each. Roast for 20 minutes and until firm and golden. Or fry in olive oil until golden brown (but not cooked through). If you have made the meatballs in slightly in advance, you can just heat them up in the sauce. If you have fried them, allow them to finish off cooking in the sauce.

When the tomato sauce is ready, remove the onion from the pot scraping off any sauce. Peel off all the softer inner petals of the onion (about half the onion) and using a stick blender, blend this into the sauce. You can of course simply remove it and its delicious as is.

Remove the meatballs from the oven and add them along with all the pan liquid to the sauce.

Once things are well on the way to finishing, heat a large pot of salty water to boiling and cook your pasta to al dente. Drain and combine with the sauce and meatballs. Serve with grated parmesan.