Chinese Spaghetti and Meatballs

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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12 ounces ground pork

1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder (about 1/3 palmful)

Salt and white pepper

2 inches gingerroot, 1 inch grated and 1 inch sliced

Handful breadcrumbs

4 to 6 thin scallions, 1/2 minced, 1/2 finely chopped

1 egg yolk, beaten

1 to 2 large cloves garlic, 1/2 grated and 1/2 sliced

Sesame oil, for drizzling

Vegetable oil, for drizzling

1 to 2 red chiles (depending on your preferred level of heat), seeded and sliced

2 quarts chicken stock

3 cups shredded baby bok choy

1/4 cup soy sauce

About 1/2 pound spaghetti

Fried onions, such as Durkee, or Chinese fried noodles, for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the pork in a bowl and sprinkle with the Chinese 5-spice powder, salt and white pepper. Add the grated ginger, breadcrumbs, finely chopped scallions, egg yolk, grated garlic and a drizzle of sesame oil. Mix together and roll into small meatballs. Dress in vegetable oil and roast until brown and golden, 15 to 18 minutes.
  3. Heat a drizzle of vegetable oil in a soup pot. Stir in the sliced ginger, sliced garlic and chile peppers, followed by the chicken stock, 2 cups water, the bok choy and soy sauce. Simmer to flavor, cooking until the bok choy is tender-crisp, and then combine with the meatballs.
  4. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente. Combine the pasta with the sauce and meatballs, and serve in shallow bowls garnished with sesame oil, the thinly sliced scallions and crispy fried onions or fried noodles.

Cook’s Note

For a make-ahead meal, cool and store the sauce and meatballs. Bring to room temperature before reheating to a low boil. Cook the pasta right before serving.