Tuna Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato and Pepper Sauce

I first tried this recipe when I was at university. My brother had a Jamie Oliver Italian cookbook that I had managed to discretely steel and there was a recipe for tuna fishcakes in there. Being a student I never had the tuna steaks in stock that the recipe had suggested, but I always had tins of tuna so I thought I would give it a try with that and it was bloody delicious, and really meaty! I no longer have the Jamie Oliver book (my brother found out I had it and re-claimed it), but I still remember parts of the recipe, the rest I just guessed and I added my own little kick to the sauce but it was just as good this time round, if not better!


Serves 3

For the meatballs

–          1 tbsp olive oil

–          1 white onion – finely chopped

–          1 clove large clove garlic – crushed

–          2 slices wholemeal bread made into breadcrumbs

–          40g pine nuts

–          40g capers

–          1 lemon –zest and juice

–          1 egg

–          1 tsp dried parsley

–          130g tuna

–          Salt and pepper

For the spicy tomato and pepper sauce

–          2 chilli’s – finely chopped

–          2 stalks celery – finely chopped

–          1 yellow pepper – roughly chopped

–          1 clove garlic – crushed

–          1 red onion – roughly chopped

–          1 tbsp olive oil

–          100ml red wine

–          400g chopped tomatoes

–          1 tbsp tomato puree

–          Pinch sugar

–          Salt and pepper

–          Enough Spaghetti for 3

–          Freshly grated parmesan cheese


Heat the oven to 180’C

Start to prepare the meatballs by frying the onions in the oil for 5 minutes until cooked, add the garlic and fry off for another 2 minutes.

Mix the onion mix into the rest of the meat ball ingredients and season with the salt and pepper.

Make into balls with your hands (I made 9 large), squeezing out any excess juices. Plate and place in the fridge for 20mins so they form nice firm balls and then roast on a greased baking tray for 20-25 minutes

To make the sauce, fry the onion in the olive oil until soft and then add the chilli’s celery, pepper, and garlic and fry off for 5 minutes

Pour in the red wine and simmer until nearly absorbed and then add the tomatoes and the puree.

Leave to simmer until the meatballs are cooked and the sauce is nice and thick and season with the sugar, salt and pepper to taste

Boil the spaghetti in salted water according to the pack instructions, plate all the ingredients and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese



9 thoughts on “Tuna Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato and Pepper Sauce

  1. Eureka! I never once thought of making fish “balls”! I have struggled to make the perfect fish cakes with all kinds of mashed spud and the muttering and swearing certainly detracted from the finished result (along with the glaring and daring the poor long suffering husband to critique my sad fallen apart morass of fishy mush…) and now you say I can fishball them? Not only fishball them but make sauce and serve them Italian style?! Tinned tuna…thy name has been reinstated as “food” and the dog isn’t going to get you tonight! 😉

  2. Pingback: Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs | Homemade With Mess

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