Joey Tribbiani’s callback spaghetti & meatballs

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Friends has always been one of my favourite TV shows. I still love it. Recently I’ve been watching it on Comedy Central and it still makes me laugh.

One day, so many years ago I actually find it hard to believe (around the time of the show’s success) I was browsing the bookshelves of Waterstones when I came across “Cooking with Friends.” Being such a big fan of the show I couldn’t resist buying it right there and then. I was a little skeptical, what if the recipes didn’t work? But thankfully after trying out Phoebe’s fabulous oatmeal raisin cookies, Rachel’s peanut butter cookies, misery meatloaf and Marcel’s (remember Ross’s monkey?) banana bread with great success, I had a feeling that this was a book that wasn’t going to sit unused and unloved on my bookshelf.

And I was right. I still use it all the time. There are some little gems in this book!

Phoebe’s cookies really are fabulous. Turns out they are actually more or less the same recipe as the the Toll house cookie recipe they publish on the packets of those Nestle chocolate baking chips, but whatever. It’s one of my go-to cookie recipes that the whole family enjoy.

But the recipe I’m sharing with you today is Joey Tribbiani’s call back spaghetti and meatballs. The recipe introduction explains that while Joey is waiting for his big acting break, he can take comfort in a big steaming bowl of spaghetti and meatballs just like his mama used to make. But you don’t have to be an struggling actor living in New York City to appreciate them ;-)

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I’ve tweaked this recipe to my liking over the years and my family say it’s pretty much perfect. So I’m not allowed to tweak it any further! One of my own little twists to the recipe is stuffing the meatballs with little mozzarella pearls. I like to think Mr Tribbiani would approve! I have a feeling that true to his character, he wouldn’t want to share them with anyone ;-)

Joey Tribiani’s callback spaghetti and meatballs

450g minced beef
50g parmesan cheese
50g breadcrumbs
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp salt
A good grinding black pepper
2 eggs
One pot of mozzarella pearls (I buy mine in Sainsburys)
Oil for cooking the meatballs
Favourite tomato sauce (see my recipe below)
Spaghetti

I always get started on the tomato sauce first so it’s all ready when I need it. This is my usual recipe.

One onion, chopped very finely
Two cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
One carton tomato passata
1/2 pint milk
1 tsp sugar (to balance the acidity of the tomatoes)
Salt and pepper

On a low heat gently cook the onion & garlic until softened. stir in the tomato passata, dried herbs, milk, sugar, salt and a good grinding of pepper. Place a lid on the pan and leave to simmer gently while you get on with the meatballs.

So onto the meatballs! Place all the ingredients (except for the mozzarella pearls) in a bowl and mix well together with your hands. Roll into balls, then using your finger make a “dent” in each meatball. Take a mozzarella pearl and place it inside the dent you made, moulding the meat around it until the cheese is completely covered. Heat the oil in a frying pan and brown the meatballs, turning often so they don’t stick. When they turn a nice golden brown, remove them from the pan and drop them in your simmering tomato sauce. Give the sauce a gentle stir, taking care not to break the meatballs. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, then serve over your spaghetti.

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17 thoughts on “Joey Tribbiani’s callback spaghetti & meatballs

  1. Aw how cute Nic! I know you love that book and we’ve spoke about our mutual love of the show before many times :D. These do look wonderful and it’s inspired to use the baby mozzarella to stuff them – I’m sure Joey would approve ;). I do love tomato sauces with milk in too…

    • Thanks Jo! :-) It’s a massive bonus that the book has so many great recipes. My copy is starting to fall apart but I guess that’s the sign of a well loved book! I think it was Nigella who got me adding milk to tomato sauces. It just adds a mellow note to the sauce doesn’t it? :-)

  2. I never knew there was such a thing as a Friends Cookbook. Love the look of this recipe and am going to source the book myself. xoxo

  3. I just love the idea of putting a mozzarella pearl inside each meatball. I’d never thought of it before even though I sometimes put cheese in the middle of burgers.

  4. Nikki, I have to say that any recipe that gets hubby’s approval is a keeper, he is such a fussy eater it isn’t true. Far worse than any of my kids LOL.
    Browsing your blog has been a joy, don’t really “do” blogs tbh.
    (Just because there are so darned many!)

    Happy blogging <3

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