21 September 2012

* Meatballs in a Rich Tomato Sauce

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
We were supposed to have meatballs for dinner on Wednesday, but by the time I'd finished work, moved the newly delivered parts for a new shed off of the driveway into the garden (with the help of Josh) and taken mum shopping... meatballs were a step too far.

Instead, I decided to throw together some wraps with a bit of chicken etc, and discovered I had no mayonnaise... and therefore no glue to hold the wraps together... SO... me being all *cheffy* at the moment - I decided to make my own mayonnaise.

It defeated me.

The mayonnaise completely defeated me.

Mayonnaise 1 - Abbe 0. It took 35 minutes and 4 eggs for me to realise that it just wasn't going to happen. It would have been quicker to walk the half mile to the shops and back, to buy a jar. In fact - it would have been quicker to make the bloomin' meatballs.

Last night (Thursday), I made the bloomin' meatballs.

They were bloomin' lovely.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
Serves 4 - makes roughly 30 meatballs

Prep time - 15 minutes
Cooking time - 40 minutes

You will need
A wide bottomed pan/skillet/casserole with lid
A bib

500g lean steak mince
3 heaped tbsp fresh bread crumbs
3 heaped tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
1 tsp dried oregano
1 clove garlic - crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 egg

Tomato sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 onions - finely chopped
1 red pepper - finely chopped
2 cloves garlic - crushed
500g passata
400g can chopped tomatoes
100ml milk or single cream
2 tsp dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Good pinch of sugar

2 tbsp Parmesan for garnish (optional)

For the meatballs combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix together with your hands. Form into about 30 meatballs, 2-3cm in width and place on a cling filmed plate or tray and put in the fridge while you make the sauce.

For the sauce, either finely chop the onion and pepper by hand, or whizz in a food processor until almost paste like. Heat the oil and butter in the wide bottomed pan and gently sweat the onion, pepper, garlic and oregano in it for about 10 minutes. Add the passata and can of chopped tomatoes and bring to a gentle simmer. The sauce will be quite thick and won't exactly fizz and bubble, more of a volcanic gloppy thing...

Add the milk, salt and pepper to taste and a good pinch of sugar... and stir it in. Cook for a couple more minutes then gently add the meatballs, one at a time. If you've used a wide enough pan, you should be able to fit them all in, in a single layer. If they're half in and half out of the sauce, give the pan a shake to cover them.

Put the lid on and cook, for 20 minutes - without disturbing or stirring them for the first ten minutes. You don't want them to break apart.

Serve scattered with Parmesan, with tagliatelle (or another long pasta) and warm crusty garlic bread.


  1. They look very delicious Abbé.. Btw what is Passata?

    1. Thankyou, Emma!

      Passata is fresh tomato puree. You can buy it in jars, bottles and cartons from virtually any supermarket.

  2. Cheers for clearing that up. We tend not to call it anything other than tomato puree in NZ, so thought I'd better ask what it was.

  3. Hi Abbe, thank you for the recipe, this is what I am making for dinner tonight!

    I also wasn't sure what passata was!

    1. Hello Lolisse - it's amazing just how much gets lost in translation from country to country! But it certainly has it's moments - took my mate from Pennsylvania ages to work out what a "Brolly" was ;) Which was fun.

      I hope you enjoy your dinner, I'd love to know how it turns out!


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