Meatballs in Tomato Sauce Recipe
This week Foodie Sisters in Italy, Benedetta and Valeria, are making delicious meatballs in tomato sauce with a fantastic recipe from Italian food blogger, Serena Bringheli, who is our very first special guest. One of the most comforting dishes in Italian cuisine, everyone should have a favorite meatball recipe and this one is now ours!
We welcomed our friend Serena into the Local Aromas kitchen to show us how to make her own recipe for classic polpette al sugo. Serena runs her own successful food blog, Cucina Serena, and is also the Lazio representative for the Italian Food Blogger Association; so if anyone knows how to prepare fabulous Italian food it is her.
Rather than being fried, these tasty, meatballs are poached directly in the tomato sauce to ensure a tender texture and lots of flavor. The meatballs can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge or freezer, then all you need to do is make a simple tomato sauce to accompany them. The polpette will flavor the passata so if you have any leftover sauce you can use it with pasta the next day for another quick but delectable dish from this one simple recipe.
Note that in Italy meatballs are not served with pasta but are eaten as a second-course meat dish; so to eat them the authentic way, serve them alongside potatoes or greens with plenty of bread to soak up that succulent sauce.
Polpette al Sugo
(Makes 20-25 meatballs)
300g minced beef
50g grated parmesan
4 slices of white bread
1 small egg
Milk (about an espresso cup)
500g tomato passata
Extra virgin olive oil
Cut the crusts off the bread and cut the slices into small pieces. Put the bread into a bowl and wet with a little milk, it should be the consistency of a sticky dough.
Finely chop the parsley.
Put the minced meat into a bowl and use your hands to form a well in the center. Squeeze the excess milk out of the bread and add to the mince along with the egg, parmesan, and parsley, season with a little salt and pepper.
Use your hands to combine everything well, squashing the ingredients together with your fingers until you have a smooth, compact mixture. Take some of the meat mixture and roll it on the palm of your hand to make a small ball, a little larger than a walnut. Continue forming meatballs of about the same size until the mixture is finished.
Meanwhile, to make the sauce, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil into a wide saucepan and heat for a minute. Chop the onion very finely, add to the pan, and cook until it starts to turn golden. Add the passata and season with a pinch of salt. Cook for a few minutes, if the sauce starts to thicken too much add a splash of water.
Carefully put the meatballs into the sauce in a single layer, try not to squash them. The sauce should cover the meatballs so, if necessary, spoon a little tomato over the top. Poach the meatballs in the sauce for 15-20 minutes until they are cooked through.
Serve hot or warm covered with plenty of sauce and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
Grazie Serena and buon appetito!