Italian sausage and red wine meatballs with spaghetti

This easy spaghetti and meatballs recipe is a great option for a quick weeknight dinner – it makes six sausages into a delicious meal for six in just over half an hour

  • 35 mins cooking
  • Serves 6
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  • 6 good herby sausages
  • 1 tablespoon of oil, if needed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 fat cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup full-bodied red wine
  • 700 millilitre bottle of passata
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup fresh torn basil, or 1½ tablespoons basil paste
  • fresh or dried pasta for 6


  • 1
    Place a large frying pan on the stove. Use your fingers to squeeze the sausage meat in rough nuggets into the pan (aim for about six even-sized balls from each sausage). Brown the balls lightly, only add oil if they are sticking to the pan.
  • 2
    While the balls are browning, chop the onion and garlic and add to the pan, cooking gently until softened.
  • 3
    When the onion and garlic are soft, add the wine to the pan and cook until evaporated.
  • 4
    While the wine is reducing, prepare a pot of water to cook the pasta.
  • 5
    Add the passata and brown sugar to the frying pan and stir in the oregano and basil. Simmer gently for 10-15 minutes.
  • 6
    Cool the pasta till al dente. Reserve a little of the cooking water and add a splash to the meatball mixture to give it a little gloss.
  • 7
    Serve the meatballs and sauce over the pasta with plenty of parmesan and some fresh parsley or basil scattered over the top. A salad and some crusty bread are good accompaniments.


Omit the parmesan in this recipe to make it a dairy-free meal. Use gluten-free sausages and gluten-free pasta to make this into a GF meal. Cooked spaghetti squash (or vegetable spaghetti) is a lower calorie and carb alternative to pasta. You could use an Italian seasoned sausage for this recipe, but any good herby meaty sausage will work.