“Miracles are like meatballs, because nobody can exactly agree on what they are made of, where they come from, or how often they should appear.”
Lemony Snicket, The Carnivorous Carnival.
We can all agree that meatballs are a universal dish. Every culture seems to have their own version of these tasty little morsels, flavoured with traditional herbs, spices, sauces and broths. Another universal truth about meatballs, is that everyone’s nonna, abuela, babcia, grootmoeder and mhamó makes the best meatballs on the planet.
Of course, if you ask Grandma about her secret ingredient for perfect meatballs, she will inevitable reply ‘love’, keeping her secret neatly hidden beneath a cheeky smile. But here at H&T kitchen, we are letting the cat out of the bag with our meatball recipe.
You will need:
750ml tomato passata or two cans tomato pulp
1 brown onion, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 slices bread, made into coarse breadcrumbs
500g chicken mince *
2 small cloves of garlic, crushed
1-2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
50g grated parmesan
salt and pepper
* Note: you can substitute chicken with any other meat. When using beef, I like to add 20% pork mince and a little extra garlic.
In a pot, gently sauté the onion until it becomes transparent. Add garlic and allow to cook gently for a further minute or two. Add the tomato and bring to a gentle simmer while you prepare the meatball mixture.
I like to prepare the meatball mixture using a food processor because it produces a soft and tender meatball, but you can mix the ingredients by hand if you like.
In a food processor or bowl, combine the remaining ingredients thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper.
Wet your hands and shape the mixture into golf sized balls. Place them directly into the simmering sauce, as you go.
Allow to cook gently for about an hour. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning. Depending on the sweetness of the tomato used (i.e. the quality of your passata), you may wish to cook the sauce for another 30 minutes to help develop the flavours.
Serve your meatballs with pasta, coucous, in a sandwich or as finger food at your next party. Yummmm.
Note: They will keep for several days in the fridge.