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Spaghetti & Meatballs with “Arkatena” Breadcrumbs

It’s November 26. Less than a month away from Christmas. Autumn slumber is making way for holiday excitement. Frost has made its first appearance here on the west coast of Canada. Being back on the west coast this year with all the events that have unfolded as of late has meant that I have craved comfort food even more than usual. As I write that last sentence I realise that I haven’t really explained these “events” on my website, though I have touched on them in my Instagram feed.  My family has never had a classic meatball recipe. But one thing we do always use in any meatball recipe we make is Cypriot “paxamathi”, which is dried “Arkatena” a type of Cypriot bread which comes from a Cypriot village called “Omodos”. “Arkatena” has a unique flavour because it uses foam produced from chickpea fermentation to help it rise, not traditional yeast. It gives any meatball a more complex flavour – slightly nuttier I think. Of course, this recipe can be made with any breadcrumbs, but if you want a Cypriot touch, then ground “paxamathi” is the way to go. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. Comfort food at its finest, with a touch of Cyprus.

akstampLevel of Difficulty: 2/5
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time: about 1 hour and 10 minutes (for medium/well-done)
Serves: 4 people


for the meatballs:
3/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used “Paximathi”, which is dried Cypriot “Arkatena” bread)
1/4 cup milk
250g Italian sausage (or another type of pork sausage) removed from casing
400g beef
1/4 cup fresh “Anari” cheese (not salted, not sweetened) or ricotta cheese
1/4 Parmesan cheese
1/2 diced large onion
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tbs finely diced garlic
1 large egg
pinch of nutmeg and clove powder
salt and pepper to taste
flour for dusting and vegetable oil for frying

for the sauce & spaghetti:
1 pack Mitsides Spaghetti (500g)
1/2 diced large onion
2 cans Mitsides Chopped Tomatoes (400g each)
1 tbs finely diced garlic
1/4 cup white wine
1 tbs sugar
2 tbs Mitsides Tomato Paste
1 tbs olive oil


Afrodite's Kitchen Spaghetti & Meatballs-90821. Add all of the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mix together well with your hands and form large meatballs (should make about 20 meatballs). Lightly dust the meatballs in flour so that they fry better.

Afrodite's Kitchen Spaghetti & Meatballs-90892. Heat vegetable oil on the stove (about 1cm deep) in a large frying pan. Once hot, add meatballs and brown on all sides. Remove and place on kitchen towel on a plate to drain the oil.

Afrodite's Kitchen Spaghetti & Meatballs-91113. Drain the oil from the frying pan. Add olive oil, tomato paste, onions and garlic and lightly fry for about 1 minute. Add the white wine and let evaporate.

Afrodite's Kitchen Spaghetti & Meatballs-91184. Add the chopped tomatoes and sugar and let simmer over low to medium heat for about ten minutes until the sauce thickens. Add the meatballs and cook for another ten minutes, until the meatballs are cooked on the inside.

Afrodite's Kitchen Spaghetti & Meatballs-91905. Cook the Mitsides spaghetti in boiling salted water until al dente and drain.

6. Add the spaghetti to the sauce and stir around well. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese on top.

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