Italian meatballs in a rich tomato sauce recipe

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This is a very easy and delicious recipe. Homemade meatballs are much nicer than shop bought and the same goes for the tomato sauce too. You can make double the amount and refrigerate half for later in the week. In fact, the second half always seem to taste so much better after leaving the meatballs to marinate in the rich sauce over a few days in the fridge.

  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cooking Time: 2 Hours
  • Total Time: 2 Hours 20 Minutes


  • 1 lb (500 g) of lean minced/ground beef
  • 25 mm (1”) of fresh ginger - grated
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp of dried parsley
  • 1 tsp of ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp (2.5 ml) of oregano
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
For the Sauce
  • 1 pint (500 g) of tomato passata
  • 1 crumbly chicken stock cube
  • ½ cup (125 ml) of drinkable red wine
  • 1 chopped and fried mild shallot (optional)
  • ½ tsp (2.5 ml) of dried basil
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp (2.5 ml) of brown or demerara sugar
  • ½ tsp (2.5 ml) of oregano
How to Make It
  1. In a large mixing bowl, blend the beef, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, parsley, oregano, and black pepper. Mix with your hands until all ingredients are combined. Roll out into small balls about 30 mm (1¼”) in diameter. Now set aside on a greaseproof paper lined baking tray.
  2. In a large saucepan, add the olive oil and fry the shallot (if using) until soft and transparent, not burnt. Now stir in the wine and simmer for 1 minute to ensure that most of the alcohol evaporates.
  3. While on a medium heat, add the tomatoes, crumble the stock cube in the mix, add the oregano, the sugar and the basil. Simmer for half an hour.
  4. Now add a tbsp of olive oil in the frying pan and on a high heat, fry the meatballs in batches until each meatball is lightly browned all over. You may need to do this in 2 or 3 batches.
  5. Next, add the meatballs to the sauce, bring to the boil, then immediately lower the heat to simmer for a further 1½ hours. Place the lid on the saucepan, stirring gently every 10-15 minutes.
  6. Now serve, either with pasta, spaghetti or on its own, with a sprinkling of grated parmesan and ground black pepper to taste.

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