A spring-loaded scoop makes quick work of forming meatballs.



Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain.

  • Meanwhile, in a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, 5 minutes. Remove 1/3 cup onion and transfer to a cutting board. Add bell pepper to remaining onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until bell pepper is softened, 8 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water to pot, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add tomatoes (if using crushed, add an additional 3/4 cup water) and red-pepper flakes and bring to a gentle simmer.

  • In a large bowl, combine breadcrumbs, milk, and 1 teaspoon salt. Roughly chop reserved onion and add to bowl, along with pork and fennel seed. Stir until just combined (do not overmix). Drop meat mixture by heaping tablespoons into sauce. Gently shake pot to submerge meatballs as much as possible, cover, and simmer until cooked through, about 8 minutes. Divide pasta among four bowls, top with meatballs and sauce, and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Cook's Notes

A sausage-and-pepper sub (a.k.a. a hoagie or hero) is one of the world's best sandwiches. This riff is terrific, too.

Reviews (2)

31 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 4
  • 4 star values: 5
  • 3 star values: 16
  • 2 star values: 4
  • 1 star values: 2
Rating: Unrated
Thought this would be great---but sadly mistaken. The meatballs were horrible, soft and squishy. They should have been browned before putting them in the sauce. I also spent a lot of time jazzing up the sauce, adding basil, thyme and a little sugar. Before adding those ingredients it really only tasted of canned tomatoes.
Rating: 5 stars
YUM-TOWN! I have made this a few times because it is SO GOOD! Highly recommended. The sauce is spicy and the meatballs are tender and delicious. Loved it!