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Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

Introduction & method

Most cultures have a dish like this - Spanish albóndigas, British faggots, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern kofte, IKEA Swedish meatballs etc. This recipe is a bit Italian influenced, especially in the tomato sauce that goes with the meatballs.

Meatballs with Tomato Sauce Recipe

Make the Tomato Sauce

I usually make the sauce first so that it has time for the flavours to develop. Peel and finely chop the onion. Peel and mince the garlic. Pour a good glug of olive or rapeseed oil into a frying pan on medium heat. Add the onions and let them cook for about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for a few minutes more. In a saucepan, mash the tinned tomatoes to a pulp. Add the passata, onions and garlic, pepper, basil and salt. Stir well and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning if necessary. You may want to add sugar. Liquidise the sauce in a blender, return it to the pan and leave it to stand until the meatballs are ready to go in.

Make the Meatballs

Chop the onion as finely as you can. Using your hand, mix together the meatball ingredients and shape golfball-sized chunks of the mixture into balls. Don't squeeze them too tightly - they should not be dense.

Cook the Meatballs

On a medium-high flame, heat a good amount of olive or rapeseed oil in a large frying pan. Add meatballs and cook them for about 5 minutes, turning frequently to get them browned all over. You may need to do them in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. When nicely browned, add them to the sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve the Meatballs and Tomato Sauce

Serve the meatballs and sauce on a bed of spaghetti and sprinkle with finely grated Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Meatballs with Tomato Sauce on YouTube.

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Ingredients & Info

 200 grams minced beef
 200 grams minced pork
 50 grams breadcrumbs soaked in milk
 1 small onion
 a pinch of salt
 a handful of flatleaf parsley
 2 tsp fennel seeds
 400 grams canned tomatoes
 200 ml tomato passata
 1 small onion
 4-5 cloves garlic
 1 tsp ground black pepper
 a pinch of salt
 1 tsp basil


Olive or rapeseed oil for sautéeing.

US Customary/Imperial

Makes 12 meatballs
Prep time: 15 minutes.
Cooking time: 30 minutes.
Total time: 45 minutes.