Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Meatballs made with minced beef in tomato sauce, while not exactly a quick recipe it is certainly worth taking the time and effort to make these.

The resulting dish makes a good, hearty and satisfying meal.

This recipe could also be cooked in a slow cooker, instead of cooking the meatballs in the oven place the meatballs and tomato sauce mixture in your slow cooker and cook on low for about  8  hours or on high for 6 hours.

I would serve meatballs with roasted veg and cabbage to mop up the juices.

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Serves 6-8

Ingredients for the meatballs

Splash of olive oil

3 medium onions very finely chopped

4 cloves garlic chopped finely

1 kg minced beef (preferably grass fed)

1 tablespoon of dried Italian herb mixture.

1 large egg beaten

Salt and Pepper to taste

3 tbsp olive oil – to fry the meatballs

Ingredients for the tomato sauce.

Good splash of olive oil

2 medium onions finely sliced

2 cloves of garlic finely chopped

1 x 400g tin of chopped plum tomatoes

1 x 400g tin of ratatouille

Method to make the meatballs

Heat a splash (about 2 tbsp) of olive oil in a frying pan.

Add the onions and fry very gently for about 5 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent and are starting to brown a little.

Allow this onion mixture to cool down.

Put the minced beef into a bowl. Add the cooled onions and the chopped garlic. Add the Italian herbs and the beaten egg. Mix this together well seasoning as you go.

To check the seasoning fry a small piece of this mixture in a frying pan until cooked through. Taste this piece and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Make this mixture into 24 meatballs of even size, using your hands to gently form the meatballs.

Place the meatballs in the refrigerator to firm up (at least 1 hour).

Method to make the tomato sauce

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and cook very gently for about 5 minutes until soft and translucent, add the garlic and cook for a further 3 minutes, being careful not to color the onions or the garlic.

Add the cans of tomatoes and ratatouille. Cook this mixture for about 30 minutes until this mixture becomes a thick tomato sauce. Taste the sauce and season if necessary.

To assemble the dish.

Fry the meatballs once they have been in the fridge for 1 hour.

Heat the 3 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan and brown the meatballs on all sides. Once cooked place the meatballs in an ovenproof dish and cover with the tomato sauce. Place in a hot oven (220C) for about 20 – 30 minutes.

The dish is cooked once the tomato sauce is good and hot and bubbly.

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