That's a spiiiiicy meatball (Photo: Emma Boyd)

Recipe: Lamb, smoked paprika and caper meatballs

Is there anything better than pasta with meatballs in tomato sauce? The answer is no.

Pasta has to be the ultimate comfort food – and if it’s accompanied by meatballs and sauce, then even better. I tend to get stuck in a meatball-making rut, so my family really only ever eats the same version, time and time again. So when this dish hit the table several weeks, ago the carnivores in the family were overjoyed! There’s something about the combination of the smoked paprika-spiked meatballs and the cinnamon-scented tomato sauce that makes for a particularly well-rounded dish.

LAMB, SMOKED PAPRIKA & CAPER MEATBALLS

SERVES 4-6

  • 500g lamb mince (or use beef mince)
  • 1 smallish red onion, finely chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup parsley, finely chopped, plus extra to serve
  • 45g parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra to serve
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 100g sourdough bread, cut into small cubes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 400g tin tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

Put the mince, red onion, lemon zest, capers, egg, parsley, parmesan, smoked paprika, salt and breadcrumbs into a bowl and, using clean hands, mix well to combine. Roll into balls.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan and fry the meatballs, browning them on all sides until they are cooked through.  

While the meatballs are cooking, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and fry the onion and garlic until soft and translucent before adding the tomatoes, sugar, cinnamon and tomato paste. Season with sea salt, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Serve the meatballs and sauce with pasta, garnished with parsley and parmesan.


The Spinoff’s food content is brought to you by Freedom Farms. They believe talking about food is nearly as much fun as eating it, and they’re excited to facilitate some good conversations around food provenance in Aotearoa New Zealand.


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