Greek meatballs cooked in tomato-pepper stew

Greek Meatballs, Keftedes, "Spetzofai"

Everyone loves a great meatball! Here is an easy recipe that marries classic Greek keftedes -- meatballs -- with a dish called spetzofai, which is a pepper and tomato stew. Cook up a batch of pasta and add new (Greek!) meaning to the term spaghetti and meatballs! To find some of the artisinal Greek products you'll need to make this, visit my online shop here, where you'll discover a host of lovingly curated Greek ingredients.
20 min
60 min


  • For the meatballs
  • 2 pounds / 1 kilo ground beef
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 3-6 teaspoons breadcrumbs or grated stale bread
  • 2 teaspoons fresh mint chopped
  • ½ cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 eggs
  • All-purpose flour
  • Olive or other vegetable oil for frying
  • For the sauce
  • 3,7 fl. oz / 110ml extra-virgin Greek olive oil
  • 6 green peppers in ¾-1 in / 2-3cm -thick strips
  • 7,4 fl. oz / 220ml puréed tomatoes
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • A little cayenne pepper
  • Spaghetti or other pasta boiled and ready, for serving


  1. Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl. If the mixture is too watery, add breadcrumbs and egg. Knead well and leave to stand, covered, in the refrigerator for one hour. Then take it out and shape the meatballs. Dredge the meatballs in flour and fry them in plenty of olive oil. Drain them and leave them aside until ready to cook in the sauce.
  2. Make the spetzofai sauce: In a wide pot, heat the oil and sauté the peppers for 5-6 minutes until they soften a little. Add the tomato, cinnamon, cayenne, and a little salt and pepper. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes to thicken it and add the meatballs. Cover and slow-cook for about 30 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
  3. Serve on spaghetti, tagliatelle, or any other pasta you prefer.

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