On Mondays We #Meatball
This may not look all that glamorous, but who cares when it's tasty AF, filling and feeds the kids as well as the grown ups. It's a cheeky little mid-week number that packs a punch and even gives you left overs for lunch the next day...hell yes!
Serves 4 // Prep time: 15 mins // Cook time: 30 mins
- 500g quality, lean British mince beef
- Generous lug of olive oil
- 1 x free range egg
- 1 x medium sized brown onion, diced
- 2 x garlic cloves, minced
- 350g (approx half of a standard jar) Passata
- 1/2 cup of sour dough bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup of gruyere cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup of English mature cheddar, grated
- Handful of fresh basil leaves
- Splash of Balsamic vinegar (optional)
- Sea salt flakes
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/ 356 F / Gas Mark 4
- Put a medium sized saucepan on a medium heat and add the diced onion and garlic with the lug of olive oil. Cook low and slow for approx. 10-15 minutes to soften & sweeten but not brown the onions. Stirring often to ensure they don't stick to the pan or burn.
- Meanwhile, in a glass / ceramic bowl combine the mince beef, breadcrumbs, egg, gruyere and a generous pinch of sea salt flakes and pepper. Mix with your hands and roll into whatever sized balls your heart desires (behave). Set aside.
- Once the onions are soft, add the passata and season to taste. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and let it reduce down until your desired consistency is reached..not too runny, not too thick - just right. Right at the last moment I add a splash of quality balsamic vinegar for richness and sweetness - but you can just play around with the seasoning.
- Fry off the balls in a shallow fry pan over a medium heat and once browned all over add to a baking dish. I use either an enamel baking pan or a Le Creuset dish (which you can use as a serving dish in the middle of the table once cooked as they look so bloomin' gorgeous).
- Pour the tomato sauce mixture over the meatballs and tear in some basil leaves, scattering over the top for a bit of fragrant greenery (if your kids are going to baulk at something, so help me God, this will be it..so leave out if you want to avoid a potential battle). Sprinkle over the grated cheddar and you can add some more gruyere or some fresh parmesan as well if you so wish. Grind over some black pepper and a splash of olive oil, just to be a bit sexy at this point.
- Put the dish on the top shelf of the pre-heated oven and cook for around 25-30 mins or until bubbling and golden on top.
- I serve this with mixed pasta shapes to appease my son - shells are his favourite. I prefer to eat this with a small serving of al dente wholewheat penne and a generous rocket and spinach salad with a simple white balsamic & olive oil dressing and shaves of parmesan..oh and a bucket of Pinot Noir, but who's judging.
Let me know how you go! Enjoy xx