Meatballs in Tomato Sauce


Meatballs in tomato sauce served with spaghetti

1 800g (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 medium onion finely chopped

4 cloves of garlic crushed

1 teaspoon dried basil or 5-6 chopped fresh basil leaves

1 teaspoon dried oregano or 10 chopped fresh oregano leaves

1 teaspoon of sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

About 1/3 cup of dry red wine

Meat Balls

500g (1 lb) fresh ground beef

1 large egg

3 tablespoons ketchup

¼ teaspoon meat spice (preferably BBQ flavor)

Salt and ground black pepper

About ¼ cup of bread crumbs (preferably freshly made*)

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley (optional)

How to do it

1. In a medium-sized pot, heat the olive oil and saute the onions until they are soft (they will just start to color, don’t brown them).  Add the crushed garlic and stir around in the pot for a few seconds until they just start to get some color (do not let them brown otherwise they will burn) Add the tomatoes, herbs, seasoning, sugar and wine.

2. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat down to low and let the sauce simmer uncovered for a few minutes.

3. Meanwhile…in a bowl, whisk the egg, add the spices and ketchup, and mix together. Add the ground beef and mix well until combined. Add the breadcrumbs and mix well. Check to see that you have a consistency that allows you to shape a ball that retains its shape. If the meat mixture is too soft, add some more breadcrumbs, but don’t make the mixture too dry or your meatballs will be dry.

4. Bring the tomato sauce to the boil. Make small golf-ball sized meatballs (I use a heaped tablespoon to give me a consistent amount of meat per ball) and drop them carefully into the sauce. Shake the pot occasionally to ensure the meatballs are all covered with sauce.

5. When all the meatballs are in the pot, turn the heat down low, cover the pot and allow the meatballs to simmer for about an hour.

This makes about 12-15 meatballs. I usually double this recipe.

Serve with spaghetti or rice.

*Fresh breadcrumbs: Slice 2-3 thick slices of day-old+ bread into cubes and put them in the food processor using the large metal blade and process for about 1-2 minutes until you get crumbs. You can store leftovers in the freezer. Using freshly made breadcrumbs keeps the meatballs very moist and  and is a good way to use up leftover bread. (Because you aren’t using these to fry with, you don’t have to dry them out in the oven, so it really is a quick process)


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