Spaghetti ‘on the guitar’ with small meatballs refers to a method of pasta-making where pasta sheets are passed through a chitarra, a frame with guitar-like strings, which gives the strands flat sides. You can substitute store-bought fresh linguine instead of making your own.






Skill level

Average: 3.5 (15 votes)


  • 450 g (3 cups) ‘00’ flour, plus extra, to knead
  • 4 eggs
  • shaved parmesan, to serve


Polpettine (small meatballs)

  • 300 g minced chicken
  • 300 g minced pork
  • 300 g minced beef
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) sunflower oil


Sugo (sauce)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 150 g minced beef
  • 700 ml tomato passata (puréed tomatoes)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling time 30 minutes

Place flour and ½ tsp salt in a food processor. Add eggs, one at a time, processing for 2 minutes or until dough comes together – add 1 tbsp water if needed. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Enclose in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Divide dough in half. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out one portion to form a 5 mm-thick rectangle about 12 cm-wide. Set your pasta machine at its widest setting, then feed dough through, narrowing the settings on the machine one notch at a time until you reach the second thinnest setting. Repeat process with remaining dough. Using a pasta machine attachment or a sharp knife, cut into linguine. Place in a single layer on lightly floured clean tea towels, then cover with extra tea towels until ready to cook.

To make sugo, heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add vegetables and cook, stirring, for 6 minutes or until softened. Add mince, breaking up with a wooden spoon, and cook for 3 minutes or until browned. Stir in passata and season with salt. Reduce heat to low and cook for 2 hours or until thickened and reduced.

Meanwhile, to make meatballs, combine minces and egg in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, then roll into 2 cm-diameter balls. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Working in batches, cook meatballs, turning, for 5 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside. When sugo is ready, add meatballs to pan and cook for 10 minutes or until warmed through.

Cook pasta in boiling salted water for 3 minutes or until al dente, then drain. Stir meatball mixture through pasta and serve with parmesan.



Photography Simon Bajada


As seen in Feast magazine, March 2014,