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Meatballs & Pasta – the Jamie Oliver’s way

Recipes for Meatballs and Pasta – cook the Jamie Oliver’s way

Source: Ministry of Food by Jamie Oliver

Serve: 4–6 persons


For meatballs (24 medium/ 48 mini):

  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary (refer photo below)
  • 12 cream crackers
  • 2 heaped teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 500g good-quality minced beef, pork, or a mixture of the two
  • 1 heaped tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 large egg, preferably free-range or organic
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil (for cooking)

For pasta and sauce (note 1):

  • a bunch of fresh basil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ a fresh or dried red chilli
  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 400g dried spaghetti or penne (I used corkscrew pasta)
  • Parmesan cheese, for grating (for serving)


a)   To make your meatballs

  • Pick the rosemary leaves off the woody stalks and finely chop them
  • Wrap the crackers in a tea towel and smash up until fine, breaking up any big bits up with your hands (note 2)
  • Add to the bowl with the mustard, minced meat, chopped rosemary and oregano
  • Crack in the egg and add a good pinch of salt and pepper
  • With clean hands scrunch and mix up well
  • Divide into 4 large balls
  • With wet hands, divide each ball into 6 and roll into little meatballs – you should end up with 24
  • Drizzle them with olive oil and jiggle them about so they all get coated
  • Put them on a plate, cover and place in the fridge until needed

b)   To cook your pasta, meatballs and sauce

  • Peel and finely chop the onion and the garlic
  • Finely slice the chilli
  • Put a large pan of salted water on to boil
  • Next, heat a large frying pan on a medium heat and add 2 lugs of olive oil
  • Add your onion to the frying pan and stir for around 7 minutes or until softened and lightly golden
  • Then add your garlic and chilli, and as soon as they start to get some colour add the large basil leaves
  • Add the tomatoes and the balsamic vinegar
  • Bring to the boil and season to taste
  • Meanwhile, heat another large frying pan and add a lug of olive oil and your meatballs
  • Stir them around and cook for 8–10 minutes until golden (check they’re cooked by opening one up – there should be no sign of pink)
  • Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer until the pasta is ready, then remove from the heat
  • Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the packet instructions

c)   To serve your meatballs

  • Saving some of the cooking water, drain the pasta in a colander
  • Return the pasta to the pan
  • Spoon half the tomato sauce into the pasta, adding a little splash of your reserved water to loosen
  • Serve on a large platter, or in separate bowls, with the rest of the sauce and meatballs on top
  • Sprinkle over the small basil leaves and some grated Parmesan


  1. I used this basic pizza sauce as a subsitute.
  2. If you don’t have any tea towel, you can put the crackers in a plastic bag and smash up until fine. Another easier way is to buy those pre-packed crackers, smash them up before you open it.

P6258295-copyA close-up of fresh rosemary

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  1. Oh yes.. Jamie Oliver, my favorites naked chef 😛 I like his recipe! Your pasta looks really yummy!

  2. Alice says:

    Wow! so tedious! You are such a Jamie Oliver’s fan! The way he makes the meatball is really gorgeous! I admired the way he presented his simple and quick style of recipes & cooking! 😉

    • food-4tots says:

      Alice: It is actually very simple if you follow thru his online cooking video. Do give it a try! I am sure Sean will luv “chocolate balls” as well, right? 😉

  3. Thanks for the recipe and will try it out soon as my daughter, a pasta lover will sure loves it. I absolutely agree with you that eating the right food is very important especially during the growing age of our children.

  4. Oooooo… the pasta honestly looks damn great! 🙂

  5. skinnymum says:

    have always been a nigella fan. have not read any of jamie’s books or sat through his program but hey, this looks really good. will definitely make this for my pasta crazy daughters

    • food-4tots says:

      Skinnymum: I had watched a few Nigella’s shows on Asia Food Channel. She is a great chef too. Tks for trying this recipe and hope your girls will luv it. Remember to PASS IT ON!!! 😉

  6. Selba says:

    Love Jamie Oliver! Used to watch his shows for years 🙂

    The meat balls and pasta looks great!

  7. Little Inbox says:

    Your meat balls looked so beautiful with shiny surface. Mine one always rough.

    • food-4tots says:

      Little Inbox: Tks!! Maybe I shot the meatballs immediately after cooking, so you will still see the shiny effect. After a while, the shine will disappear too. Watch the video clip and you will see how Jamie rolls the meatballs until round and smooth. 😉

  8. Ruth says:

    Great recipe and thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

    I hope everyone joins Jamie’s Ministry of Food. Fantastic idea!

  9. Ching says:

    Looks so delicious! I like the addition of rosemary, so fragrant.

  10. Ah I am going to try this recipe. Hubby also the fans of Jamie Oliver. lol So will try this in the coming school holiday. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Christine says:

    Lovely! My kids can inhale pasta, thanks for passing the recipe on! 🙂

  12. mycookinghut says:

    Your meat balls look good! I am not a great fan of Jamie Oliver. But, he has got some good recipes. It’s just that in the UK – I think when comes to chefs, only the celebrity chefs are recognised for eg. Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, Nigella.. etc. They sort of have monopolised the industry, which I think many other great chefs out there are not made known cos they are not celebrity… if you get what I mean. 🙂

    • food-4tots says:

      Lee Mei (MCH): Tks!! I understand and totally agree with your view. It doesn’t happen in UK but other parts of the world too. Sometimes, they just need a bit of luck. 😉

  13. daphne says:

    I came over here from Presto Pasta- What a great looking dish and reading your entry just make me want to hop into the kitchen and get cooking!

    • food-4tots says:

      Daphne: Tks for your wonderful compliments. You made my day!! I like your pasta entry too. You really know how to make full use of all your stocks in the fridge. That’s the most challenging task to me. Have to learn from you. 😉

  14. Joanne says:

    I never realized how much of an activist Jamie Oliver is – what an admirable guy. Thanks for sharing these facts about him as well as his recipe.

  15. Sara says:

    I am a fan of Jamie Oliver’s too. This dish looks beautiful.

  16. peanutts says:

    Jamie oliver is the best!!! I also watch micheal smith , chef at home and he also give pretty good tips on how to create simple kid friendly meals

    • food-4tots says:

      Peanutts: Hope you will give this recipe a try and pass it on. I did watch Michael Smith’s show and love his kitchen very much. It’s my dream kitchen. 😉

  17. lingzie says:

    i really enjoyed watching the ministry of food series on AFC a while back. i think what jamie is trying to do with pass it on and the school dinners is very commendable.

    that said those meatballs looked even better here than on tv! lol will definitely try it out sometime and pass it on! hehe

  18. Selba says:

    psssttt… I’ve an award for you in my blog 😉

  19. buzzingbee says:

    looks really wonderful 🙂

  20. homeladychef says:

    One dish, bao ka liao! Tried this dish before, really nice! 🙂

  21. Oh wow, lovely! Your meatballs are perfectly done. Very yummy-looking dish, indeed 🙂

  22. Dora says:

    I have not tried meatballs pasta before. This one tempts me to give it a try!

  23. your meat ball look so delicious!! Hmm I’m not really a fan of Oliver,I guess USA TV keep promote their own chefs hardy other country chef..but I saw few of his show in local education TV..quite interesting!!

  24. tigerfish says:

    I enjoy some of Jamie’s simplest recipes too.

  25. very nice, very inspiring! simple and perfecto!

  26. noobcook says:

    This looks fantastic, your meatballs are so well made. I’ve bought Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food cookbook, there are still many recipes there that I wanna try =)

  27. Diana says:

    I’m such a fan of teaching children to cook things from scratch at a young age. This is a great recipe for kids!

  28. Myf says:

    I absolutely LOVE this! Yummy..

  29. […] Meatballs and Pasta – the Jamie Oliver’s way (c/o LK at Food-4 Tots) I'm an instant fan of LK's at Food-4 Tots who's blog focuses on simple, healthy and practical recipes that are suitable for toddlers. But her recipes aren't just for kids – I bet this Meatballs and Pasta dish would be enjoyed by adults, as well. I cannot wait to make it. […]

  30. mico says:

    looks yummy ! just want to check where do you get the rosemary in Spore? Thanks.


  31. food-4tots says:

    ZZ: Yes, you can.

  32. Sherilyn Yeo says:


    May i know if it is ok to make a batch and freeze some of the uncook ones for other time?

  33. Sherilyn Yeo says:

    Ok noted. How much dried rosemary should i use as i do not have fresh rosemary? Will it affect that taste? Im not good with western cooking. :p

    • food-4tots says:

      Sherilyn Yeo: You can replace it with Italian mix herb. Rosemary will add more Western aroma to the meatball. However, if you don’t frequently cook Western food, it’s fine to skip it. 😉

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