30 April 2013

Meatballs in Rich Tomato Sauce

Italians will tell you that meatballs are never served with spaghetti. The pairing of those two is something that originated in America back in the 1920’s and proved so popular that it has just become accepted as a traditional Italian dish. In fact, there’s a lot of dishes that we’ve come to think of as Italian which in reality are just adaptations of traditional dishes but when it comes to our taste buds, what does it really matter where it came from or how it has changed over the years ...  as long as you savour every mouthful and enjoy it!

You’ll notice in my meatball mixture the absence of any eggs. That’s because I’ve discovered from the clever Heston Blumenthal that the inclusion of egg makes the mixture a little too tough, and he’s absolutely right. These meatballs are moist and tender and together with the rich tomato sauce, make a perfect accompaniment to any kind of pasta or perhaps rice. We actually had the leftovers the next day in a lovely warm ciabatta as a meatball sub … fantastic!

Meatballs in Rich Tomato Sauce

¼ cup milk
¼ cup dry packaged breadcrumbs
150g pork mince
350g beef mince
¾ tspn sea salt
black pepper
½ tspn smoked paprika
pinch red chilli flakes
¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped
½ brown onion, grated
¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Place the milk and breadcrumbs into a small bowl and leave to soak for around 10 minutes until soft.

Using your hands, mix the two meats together thoroughly then add the salt, a good grinding of black pepper, paprika and chilli flakes. Now mix through the parsley, onion, parmesan and breadcrumb mixture. Roll tablespoons of meatball mixture into balls and refrigerate until ready to cook. You could leave them in the fridge for up to 24 hours if you don’t want to cook them straight away.

Heat the oven to 180c. Place the meatballs on a baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil and bake for about 20 minutes until just cooked.  If you prefer, you could gently fry them in a pan instead.

Tomato Sauce

1 tblspn olive oil
400g tin tomatoes, chopped
½ brown onion, chopped
½ red capsicum, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 anchovies, chopped (optional)
1 tblspn tomato paste
pinch red chilli flakes
½ tblspn balsamic vinegar
½ tspn sugar
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper
zest of ½ lemon

Heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté the onion, garlic, capsicum and anchovies, if using. Cook gently for 5 minutes. Stir through the tomato paste and chilli flakes and cook for a minute before adding the tomatoes. Simmer the sauce for about 20 minutes. Use a stick blender to puree the sauce or pour into a blender to whizz up. Now stir through the balsamic vinegar, sugar, basil, salt, pepper and lemon zest.

When the meatballs are cooked, add to the sauce and gently stir. Serve with pasta or rice. We had the leftovers the next day in a ciabatta as a meatball sub!
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angelahpb said...

Looks very tasty and delightful! Would love to sink my teeth into one of the meatballs, mmmm...

Julie said...

Thanks for your kind comment.