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I know meatballs are something that a lot of people just buy ready made nowadays, however, making them yourself has the clear advantage of making sure that they don’t contain something that once won the Grand National.
As far as I am concerned good meatballs should contain at least two different types of mince because it gives you a much deeper flavour. Whichever types you use are pretty much up to you. Pork and beef is the more common option, although I prefer lamb because it just tastes extra-meaty somehow (also because Sainsburys doesn’t sell organic pork mince and I am enough of a food nerd to care about this). Making meatballs in the oven has the advantage that you don’t have to worry about them falling apart in the pan. They are also supposedly healthier. Just make sure you use a non-stick baking tray and line it properly.
I made these while we were still in the middle of the snowpocalypse and there is just something incredibly comforting about the sight of spaghetti, tomato sauce and meatballs together on a plate. I would definitely recommend that you make your own tomato sauce, especially as this one only requires minimal chopping effort. Home-made tomato sauce is just so much nicer (and cheaper) than the ready made stuff. The recipe makes enough for four but everything can be easily frozen if you don’t fancy eating leftovers the next day.
For the meatballs:
500g mince (I used half and half beef and lamb, but this is up to you really)
2 handfuls of breadcrumbs ( the actual bread kind, not the weird radioactively orange stuff)
2 tbsp milk
1 medium onion
2 garlic cloves
A bunch of fresh parsley
Salt & pepper to season
For the tomato sauce:
1 tin/packet chopped tomatoes
1 medium onion
½ tsp sugar
1. Start by making the sauce. Peel and half an onion and chop up the fresh tomatoes. Add all the sauce ingredients to a medium sized saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer with the lid on for 40 mins, stirring occasionally.
2. Pre-heat your oven to 200C.
3. Pour milk and breadcrumbs into a large mixing bowl and leave to soak for a few minutes. In the meantime finely chop the onion, garlic and parsley.
4. Add mince, onion, garlic, parsley and a generous amount of salt and pepper to the breadcrumb mix. Beat the egg and add to the mixing bowl.
5. Stir everything together until well combined and shape into roughly golf ball sized balls. You should end up with about 16.
6. Place meatballs on a baking tray lined with tinfoil and bake for 15-20 mins. If you want to make sure they are completely done, slice one meatball in half and check that no pink parts remain.
7. The tomato sauce should be finished by now. Squeeze the cooking juice out of the onions and discard them. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
8. Serve tomato sauce and meatballs with spaghetti and a generous amount of Parmesan.