Italian meatballs

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September 6, 2012 by twodogjam

Italian meatballs are a winner…firm favourite of ours on Sunday evenings. So quick and easy. You can make the sauce and meatballs any time, pop in the freezer, and when ready for a delicious meal, all you have to remember is to take them out of the freezer to thaw! And the beauty of this recipe, is that you can change the flavours depending on the sausage meat you use.  For many years, I made meatballs from beef mince. They were ok but when one day I found a recipe that used sausage meat as the base, my meatballs have been delicious ever since. And so much easier.

Ingredients (for about 12 meatballs)

  • 4 sausages (find a quality butcher with home-made sausages. I buy ‘Italian sausages’ and while the spices are the butcher’s secret, the sausage meat is a mix of beef and pork)
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • 2 tblsps Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

You can also add finely chopped mushrooms or grated carrot. I avoid adding chopped onions or garlic as these are usually in the sauce that the meatballs will later cook in.

Meatball ingredientsRemove the skins from the sausages and put the sausage meat into a bowl. Add all the other ingredients to the bowl: egg, mustard, and herbs and any other vegies, herbs or spices.

Meatball mix

With clean hands, mix together the sausage meat with all the ingredients in the bowl until you have an even sausage meat mix. Now take small amounts of mixture, about a dessertspoon size,  and roll between your two hands to make small meatballs. About the size of a walnut. There’s a walnut for comparison on the plate in the picture below. Hopefully you can pick which one it is!

Rolled meatballs

Cover the plate of meatballs (without the walnut!) with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge until ready to cook (at least 30 minutes). Alternatively, you can pop the meatballs into a freezer box, separating the layers of meatballs with grease-proof paper and store in the freezer for a later date.

Browning the meatballs

When ready to cook the meatballs, heat a small amount of extra virgin olive oil in a pan, and fry meatballs for a couple of minutes gently so that brown on all sides. You can be cooking about five meatballs at a time. When nicely brown put the cooked meatballs on a plate covered with some paper tool to absorb any excess fat.

Preheat oven to about 170°C

Meatballs in sauceWhen all the meatballs are cooked, place them gently into an ovenproof dish in which you’ve added a layer of your homemade tomato sauce. Gently roll each meatball so coated with tomato sauce. Grate a little mozzarella cheese (or cheddar/tasty cheese if you don’t have any Italian) and pop into the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes and nicely bubbling and browned on top.

Serve Italian meatballs with cooked fettuccine, garlic bread, a simple green salad and nice glass of wine.

Italian meatballs in tomato sauce


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