food and drink 8.1.2018 12:56 pm

Recipe: Herbed meatballs in tomato sauce with melty mozzarella

Herbed meatballs in tomato sauce with melty mozzarella.

Herbed meatballs in tomato sauce with melty mozzarella.

The simplest ingredients transformed into a delicious, homely Italian-inspired family feast that is perfect for cosy nights in.

Ingredients

Meatballs
15ml (1 tbsp) olive oil + extra, to fry
1kg beef mince
Handful thyme leaves
Handful rosemary leaves, finely chopped
Small handful sage leaves, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Tomato sauce
15ml (1 tbsp) olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
Handful thyme leaves
Handful rosemary leaves, finely chopped
125ml (½ cup) red wine
250ml (1 cup) beef stock
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
Pinch sugar, if needed
150g fresh bocconcini mozzarella, drained, dried and torn
basil leaves, to serve
Chargrilled ciabatta toast, to serve (optional)

Method

1. For the meatballs, place all of the ingredients in a bowl and combine well – using your hands is best! Shape the meatballs into 4cm balls and arrange on a board or tray.

2. Heat a big glug olive oil in a large frying pan with a lid, over very high heat. When the pan is smoking hot, add the meatballs in small batches and fry, about 1 minute per side, to brown (they won’t be cooked through). Remove from pan and continue frying the remaining meatballs. Set the meatballs aside while you make the sauce.

3. Add the olive oil to the pan and place over medium heat, scraping the pan to loosen any bits of meat that remain after frying the meatballs. Discard these bits. Add the garlic cloves and herbs, and fry briefly, 3 minutes. Add the red wine, increase the heat to high and allow it to reduce, about 5 minutes, until there’s barely any wine left.

4. Add the beef stock and reduce, a further 5 minutes, before adding the tinned chopped tomatoes. Simmer uncovered, 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, before tasting and seasoning with salt, freshly ground black pepper and a pinch sugar to balance acidity, if necessary.

5. Arrange the meatballs in the tomato sauce and add torn pieces of the bocconcini mozzarella in between the meatballs. Simmer, covered with a lid, about 3 minutes, until the meatballs are just cooked through and the cheese has melted. Serve immediately, sprinkled with basil leaves and with toasted ciabatta slices alongside, if desired.

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