Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Tuscan Meatballs in Rich Tomato Sauce

This blog is all about the food I cook for my family and friends and because of that, there will be some reoccurring themes. What I'm trying to say is, expect to see lots of meatballs!

Tuscan Meatballs in Rich Tomato Sauce
from Annabel Langbein's Free Range in the City
Serves 6

For the Meatballs:
250g lean ground pork
250g ground beef
1 medium onion, grated
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
3  tablespoons grated parmesan
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
salt and ground black pepper
200g stale white bread
1/4 cup milk
250g ricotta cheese
3 eggs, lightly beaten

For the Rich Tomato Sauce:
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
2  tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1  teaspoon  chopped thyme
1  tablespoon sugar
1 cup water

To prepare the Rich Tomato Sauce, place tomatoes and their juice in a large pot with tomato paste, red wine, garlic, rosemary, thyme, sugar, water and salt and pepper to taste and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring now and then.

While the Rich Tomato Sauce is cooking, prepare the meatballs. Preheat oven to 220 degrees C fan-forced. Place mince in a large mixing bowl with onion, parsley, parmesan, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Mix by hand or with a wooden spoon until evenly incorporated.

Whizz bread in a food processor to form crumbs, add milk and pulse to combine. Add to the mince mixture along with ricotta and eggs and mix to combine. The mixture should be light, soft and moist. Using wet hands, form the mixture into balls about the size of golf balls. Place in an oiled baking dish and bake until browned and cooked through (about 20 minutes).

Remove browned meatballs from oven and drain off and discard any fat. Both meatballs and Rich Tomato Sauce can be cooked ahead until this stage, kept in the fridge for up to 48 hours and assembled and reheated when desired.

When ready to serve, pour hot Rich Tomato Sauce over hot meatballs, cover with a lid or tin foil and bake at 180 degrees C for 30 minutes. If you prefer, add the meatballs to the Rich Tomato Sauce and simmer on the stovetop for 20 minutes.

Serve with pasta, polenta or mashed potatoes and a green salad.

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