Meatballs in tomato sauce

with your choice of pasta and focaccia
Mark Young
Prep time: 
30 mins
Cook time: 
30 mins

Ingredients for the meatballs:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 150g/5oz onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 900g/2lb freshly minced beef
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped herbs, such as marjoram, or 1 tbsp rosemary
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Ingredients for the tomato sauce:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 110g/4oz onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 carrot peeled and diced
  • 2 stick celery sliced
  • 1 leek sliced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 x 400g/14oz tinned tomatoes
  1. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy stainless steel saucepan over a gentle heat and add the onion and garlic. Cover and sweat for four minutes, until soft and a little golden. Allow to cool.
  2. In a bowl, mix the minced beef with the cold sweated onion and garlic. Add the herbs and the beaten egg. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.
  3. Fry a tiny bit to check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. Divide the mixture into approximately 24 round balls. Cover the meatballs and refrigerate until required.
  4. Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Heat the oil in a stainless steel saucepan. 
  5. Add the sliced onion, prepared vegetables and the crushed garlic, toss until coated, cover, and sweat on a gentle heat until soft and pale golden.
  6. Slice the tomatoes and add (inc the juice) to the onion and vegetable mixture.
  7. Season the contents with sugar, salt and freshly ground pepper.
  8. Cook the tomatoes uncovered for approximately 30 minutes or until the tomato softens (while this is cooking you can  make the meatballs). Then add the tomato puree.
  9. Now for a smooth sauce you can carefully whizz with a hanblender or for more rustic leave as it is.
  10. Heat a frying pan and cook the meatballs for about 10 minutes in about three tablespoons of olive oil.
  11. When they are cooked, drain of any fat and then put them into the tomato sauce.
  12. Serve with the pasta of your choice - pictured is linguine. We have accompanied this dish with foccacia bread - which has it’s own recipe listed here.