If you’ve got money in the bank tomato sauce already made in the freezer, this is a pretty quick prep and bake supper dish you can have ready to eat in about an hour. If you haven’t, just make the sauce before you begin making the meatballs and it should still be on the table in less than 90 minutes. Anyway, it’s worth the effort either way because it’s really delicious. Serve with pasta and a side salad or just green veg like sauteed courgettes if you’re going low-carb.
- money in the bank tomato sauce – the 400g tin of tomatoes quantity. Use the base recipe and add a tablespoon of red wine vinegar.
- 600g lean minced beef
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3 tablespoons of white breadcrumbs (I use Panko for speed)
- 1 clove of garlic, grated
- 1 dessertspoon of dried oregano or chopped fresh thyme and oregano
- 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds
- 1 large banana shallot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a 1 teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 large ball of mozzarella cheese
- 1 tablespoon of pine nuts
- 30g Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Make the tomato sauce from the recipe in the link above or defrost what you’ve already made and add the red wine vinegar.
- Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, add the minced beef, two tablespoons of the breadcrumbs, grated garlic, chopped shallot, salt and pepper, herbs and fennel seeds. Combine thoroughly using a fork or clean hands. Stir in the beaten egg and mix together again.
- Using wet hands (it stops the mix sticking to them), fashion into 12 equal-sized meatballs and place them in the base of a baking dish.
- Pour the tomato sauce over the meatballs and give the dish a little wiggle so it settles evenly across the base. Tear the mozzarella up into chunks and tuck it in amongst the meatballs.
- Scatter with the remaining breadcrumbs, pine nuts and grated Parmesan.
- Cook in the oven on a baking sheet for 30 to 40 minutes until bubbling, golden and slightly crunchy on top. Up the temperature to 220°C for another 10 minutes if it still looks like a crust hasn’t formed. Allow it to cool slightly before serving. If there’s too much oil on the surface, tip the baking dish slightly so that the surplus collects in one corner and gently scoop it away onto a saucer using a soup spoon.
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