• Penne with veal and Parmesan meatballs is a step up from traditional spaghetti and meatballs. These sophisticated flavours give a whole new appeal to a traditional combination of pasta and meat.

    Cook’s tip: The sauce can be made the night before and refrigerated.

    Penne with veal and Parmesan meatballs

    Serves: 4
    Cooking Time: 1 hr 20 mins


    • Meatballs

    • 2 slices stale bread, crusts removed
    • 100ml milk
    • 500g veal mince
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
    • 60ml (¼ cup) Parmesan, freshly grated
    • 45ml (3 tbsp) fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • flour, for dusting
    • Sauce

    • 20ml (4 tsp) butter
    • 30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
    • 2 x 410g tins whole peeled tomatoes, puréed
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 100g fresh basil leaves
    • 500g penne
    • Parmesan, freshly grated, to serve



    To make the meatballs, soak the bread in the milk for a few minutes, then squeeze and discard the excess liquid.


    Place the soaked bread in a mixing bowl with the rest of the meatball ingredients and knead until well combined.


    Roll the mince mixture into small balls, coat with flour and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


    For the sauce, melt the butter and oil in a saucepan and add the tomatoes. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. Season and add the basil. Gently drop in the meatballs, cover the pan and cook for a further 30 minutes, adding water only if necessary.


    Cook the penne in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente and drain.


    Transfer the pasta to a serving dish, pour over the sauce, toss to combine and serve hot, sprinkled with Parmesan.


    To drink: Dalla Cia Giorgio 2006, a classic red blend with a spicy, elegant structure and soft tannins.