Large spaghetti with meat and aubergine balls

Large spaghetti with meat and aubergine balls

Spaghettoni con polpette di carne e melanzane

6 generously
Laura Edwards

It is well known that pasta is the best food for endurance athletes, especially before a physically engaging event such as a marathon. This is because pasta is very slowly digested, which allows energy to be released over some considerable time. I created this recipe especially for my rugby-playing friends, and it has worked well as demonstrated by Italy’s recent win over France. (Rugby is a sport I would have enjoyed if, when I was young, I had been introduced to it.)


Quantity Ingredient
600g good-quality dried spaghettoni
30g parmesan, freshly grated
salt and pepper, to taste


Quantity Ingredient
50ml olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and very finely chopped
100ml dry white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
680g tomato passata
10 fresh basil leaves


Quantity Ingredient
2 whole aubergines
olive oil, for cooking and shallow-frying
300g lean minced beef
1 garlic clove, peeled and squashed to a paste
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
50g parmesan, freshly grated
1 medium egg, beaten
100g fresh breadcrumbs


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Put the aubergines for the meatballs in an ovenproof dish, drizzle with a little olive oil and bake for 30 minutes. Cut the aubergines in half, and scoop the pulp out of the skins. Mash the pulp and keep to one side. Discard the skins.
  2. For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, and fry the onion until soft, about 5 minutes. When soft add the wine, the tomato paste, tomato passata and the basil. Stir well and leave to cook gently for 30–40 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, continue with the meatballs by mixing together the beef mince, the soft aubergine pulp, garlic paste, nutmeg, Parmesan, beaten egg, breadcrumbs and some salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix well and shape with your hands into the shape of rugby balls and the size of apricots. Shallow-fry in olive oil to brown on all sides. Add the balls to the tomato sauce and keep warm.
  4. Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water for 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain well.
  5. Pour the pasta into a large deep serving dish, and mix well with half of the sauce. Divide between individual dishes, put the rest of the sauce on the top and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

Serving suggestion

  • An accompanying glass of Barbaresco or Chianti Classico – unless the players have to play soon afterwards – would suit this dish very well!
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again