Penne with Italian Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

We love pasta with tomato sauce – name it and we’ll enjoy cooking and eating it. My sister’s the pasta diva in this house ‘coz she loves cooking them Italian style.

Penne with Italian Meatballs

In general, Filipinos love pasta. But with the sweeter version of tomato or tomato and meat sauce. So, you if you want to try this recipe, you can turn it into your own version – whether you like it a little sweeter, especially if you have kids, or Italian style with oregano or basil in the tomato sauce.


1 kg penne, cooked according to package directions

tomato sauce:

2 large cans diced tomatoes

1 small can/refill pack tomato paste

1 head of garlic, peeled and minced (you can use less if you don’t like garlic that much)

approx. 1 teaspoon dried oregano or basil (just choose one of these herbs to use for your pasta sauce)

salt and pepper to taste

grated parmesan or edam cheese

a little oil for sautéing the garlic

sugar (just to cut the sourness of the tomato sauce)

water (just to thin the sauce a bit)


3/4 kg finely ground beef

1/4 kg finely ground pork

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup breadcrumbs or 3 slices day-old bread soaked in milk for a few seconds

1/2 cup grated real parmesan cheese or queso de bola (Edam cheese is a great alternative ‘coz it’s aged like parmesan, but not as expensive)

2-3 eggs, beaten (tip: you can add one beaten egg at a time to the ground pork mixture; the eggs bind the mixture which help meatballs stay round and compact; too many eggs can make it soggy as well)

1/4 – 3/4 cup/s flour

parsley, finely chopped

oil for frying


Prep the meatballs by mixing all of the ingredients in a bowl. Form ‘a little bigger than a golf ball’-sized meatballs. Fry them until golden brown.

Tip: You can make the meatballs a few hours in advance or make and keep them in the fridge (or in the freezer for a few minutes) to firm them up prior to frying or while prepping the other ingredients.

For the sauce, sauté garlic in a little oil until lightly golden or as soon as you smell the aroma of cooked/fried garlic. Add oregano or basil and fry for a few seconds. Add tomato paste and let it cook in the oil and herbs for a minute. Add tomato sauce and simmer for a few minutes. Add a little water to thin it down a bit (but not runny) and flavor with salt, pepper and sugar. Add grated cheese and simmer again for a minute.

Add the meatballs and continue to simmer for another minute or two.

Pour the sauce onto your favorite cooked pasta and top with meatballs. Top everything with a little more grated parmesan or Edam cheese.

Serve hot with crunchy toasted butter-garlic baguette.