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8/19/2014 11:28 AM grooming • 0 Comments

Meatballs with Spiced Tomato Sauce

Serves 6


The meatballs and tomato sauce freeze well, so I often double up the quantities to have a meal ready on stand-by for a hungry crowd during football season. There’s nothing better than pulling off a dish like this rather than calling out for pizza.


You can use a variety of herbs in the mince mixture; basil, thyme, or rosemary also work well, as will a grating of nutmeg or a pinch of paprika.


Meatballs with Spiced Tomato Sauce




For the meatballs

  • 2 oz fresh breadcrumbs
  • 3 fl oz milk
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb each beef and pork mince
  • 4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Handful of sage and parsley, leaves finely chopped


For the Tomato Sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 18 oz chopped tomatoes
  • A large glass of dry white wine
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper



1. To make the sauce, heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onion for about 8 minutes until soft but not colored. Add the garlic and stir over a medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the cumin and chili flakes and cook for 30 seconds more. Stir in the tomato purée, chopped tomatoes, white wine and seasoning, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes until rich and thick.


2. While the sauce is simmering, prepare the meatballs. Put the breadcrumbs in a small bowl and add just enough milk to cover. Leave to soak. Meanwhile, fry the onion and garlic in one tablespoon of the oil for 5 minutes over a medium heat. Tip into a bowl and leave to cool. When cold, stir in the breadcrumbs, along with the mince, Parmesan, lemon zest and herbs. Season generously, then mix well.


3. Preheat the oven to 350°. Shape the mince mixture into large meatballs. Heat the remaining oil in a sauté pan and brown the meatballs on all sides for about 5 minutes. Pour the tomato sauce into a baking dish and place the meatballs on top. Cover loosely with foil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.


4. Remove the foil and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Serve with tagliatelle, a sprinkling of grated Parmesan and a few parsley leaves.