Feb 1, 2018

Bucatini Pasta with Meatballs and Tomato Sauce

It's true that tomato sauce can be messy, but man oh man, I love this kind of messiness while enjoying a plate of devilish red pasta. I don't care if my lips or even my cheeks turn red, I don't mind if the sauce got on my shirt, just give me this plate of hearty bucatini with meatballs.

Bucatini with meatballs and tomato sauce -

Ingredients (about 5 to 6 portions)?


  • 250 grams/0.55 lb ground beef
  • 210 grams/0.46 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley stems
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


  • 1 package/500 grams bucatini pasta
  • 1 to 2 big bulbs shallots
  • 1 box/25 medium button mushrooms
  • 1 can/400 grams diced tomatoes
  • 1 can/500 grams plain tomato sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Some dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 small bundle flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Some olive oil
  • Some salt
  • Some black pepper
  • Some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


There's no strict rule on the exact amount of ground beef or ground pork used. Just pick one box each at the store, and a little more ground beef is preferred.

Peel and finely chop the shallots, do the same for garlic cloves. Finely chop the parsley and separate into leaf and stem sections. Halve the button mushrooms.

Grate the cheese and set aside for later use. I highly suggest doing this step first since it's the most strenuous work in the kitchen. Seriously, my arms were so sore after grating one chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Prepare a big bowl and mix in below ingredients for the meatballs: ground beef, ground pork, 4 tablespoons chopped shallots, 1/2 cup grated cheese, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 egg, and 2 tablespoons chopped parsley stems. 

Mix well and form the mixture into about 18 medium sized meatballs.

Use a pan that's big enough to cook all the pasta later on. Drizzle enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Turn to medium high heat and wait till the surface turns hot. Gently add in the meatballs one by one and sear till browned on most surface.

The key here is to avoid moving the meatballs in the beginning. It might stick to the pan and break the shape. Just be patience and wait till the meat gets cooked on the outside, then it'll be easier to turn the meatballs and continue to sear. 

Once ready, scoop out the meatballs and set aside for later use.

Prepare a big pot of water and salt it generously. Once boiling, add in selected pasta, the hollow in the center bucatini per my case, and cook till almost al dente in texture. The pasta should be ready when the sauce is about done too. When that happens, drain out the liquid and add to the sauce.

So for the tomato sauce, use the same big pan for searing the meatballs, there should be some fats rendered inside. Turn to medium high heat, add in remaining chopped shallots, garlics, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Cook till the shallot turns translucent.

Pour in the tomato sauce, canned diced tomatoes, and 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to keep the mixture at a simmer. Add in halved mushrooms. Continue to cook for about one minute to concentrate the flavors.

Mix in nearly al dente bucatini and meatballs. Cook till the pasta seems to absorb the sauce a little bit then add in 1 more cup of grated cheese. Mix well. Taste and adjust the flavors with extra salt if needed.

Plate the pasta along with some meatballs on top. Garnish with chopped parsley leafs and grate some more cheese all over.

Something magical about the tomato sauce, making it so irresistible. It's just so warming and comforting. Not sure about you, but I can eat this dish any day, any time.

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