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Rustic Ricotta Meatballs

I am one of those annoying people who is never able to give people recipes, as often I just make things up as I am cooking them. These Rustic Ricotta Meatballs are no exception. Although the recipe tends to change slightly each time I make a batch (depending on what is in the fridge), the recipe below sets out the base recipe, which you can modify to suit your personal tastes.

Ingredients

For the Meatballs:

  • 500g pork mince
  • 500g beef mince
  • 250g fresh ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley (or substitute basil or oregano)
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • Handful bread crumbs (or substitute a few tablespoons of plain flour)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 brown onion finely diced
  • 2 – 3 garlic cloves finely diced (or crushed)
  • 1 jar tomato passata (or substitute with 2 X 425g cans of diced Italian tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup of red wine
  • 2-3 dried bay leaves
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees and line a large baking tin with baking paper.
  2. Place all of the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Get your hands dirty and mix everything together until the mixture is well combined and everything is evenly distributed. Shape the meatball mixture into tablespoon sized balls. Place on the lined baking tray. Once all of the balls have been formed place the baking tray in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes. (Chilling the meatballs before cooking will help the meatballs retain their shape while cooking).
  3. While the meatballs are chilling, heat the olive oil in a large, heavy based saucepan (big enough to fit in all of your meatballs). Saute the onion and garlic over medium heat until soft and just beginning to colour and catch on the bottom of the pan. Add the red wine, tomato passata, bay leaves, sugar, salt and pepper and bring sauce to the boil. Once the sauce is bubbling reduce to the lowest possible heat and simmer.
  4. Place the tray of meatballs in the oven. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until light brown on the outside. Place the cooked meatballs in the tomato sauce and simmer for 2 to 3 hours.
  5. Serve the meatballs in deep bowls, with fresh sourdough with lashings of salted butter to soak up the tomato sauce.

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