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Italian Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

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Serves: 4

For the tomato sauce:
4 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
400 g can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
150ml / 1/4 pint red wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the meatballs:
450g / 1 lb fresh pork mince
50g / 2 oz fresh breadcrumbs
1 medium egg yolk
75g / 3 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
20 small stuffed green olives
freshly snipped chives, to garnish
freshly cooked pasta, to serve


To make the tomato sauce, heat half the olive oil in a saucepan and cook half the chopped onion for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, mixed herbs and red wine to the pan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir well until blended. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

To make the meatballs, place the pork, breadcrumbs, remaining onion, egg yolk and half the Parmesan in a large bowl. Season well and mix together with your hands. Divide the mixture into 20 balls.

Flatten 1 ball out in the palm of your hands, place an olive in the centre, then squeeze the meat around the olive to enclose completely. Repeat with remaining mixture and olives. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet and cover with cling film and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan and cook the meatballs for 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown. Pour in the sauce and heat through. Sprinkle with chives and the remaining Parmesan. Serve immediately with the freshly cooked pasta.

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