I had previously posted a recipe for meatballs, but after tasting these I had to replace the original recipe as this dish was incredible. These meatballs were astoundingly succulent, light and delicious – the perfect accompaniment to the tomato sauce I posted yesterday. Alas, they are not entirely my own invention as the recipe is an adaptation of a Jamie Oliver recipe, taken from his first book The Naked Chef. Jamie’s method of cooking his meatballs appealed to me, by doing them in the oven surrounded by sauce there is absolutely no way they are going to dry out.
If I’m being honest these meatballs should be labelled “Italian-American” as I’m not sure this is the exact way in which Italians would serve their meatballs. However, as the recipe was obviously adapted from that brought over by Italian immigrants, I’m sure my readers won’t be too disappointed in my choice of name. If you are I’m afraid I don’t have a personal complaints department, there just isn’t enough room in my bedroom.
I don’t really have any tips to go with this recipe, other than one must remember to bind the meat very thoroughly before rolling into balls. Otherwise, during the cooking process the meat in each individual ball may begin to separate. The possibility of this may be ruled out entirely by chilling in the fridge for an hour or so before cooking. Happily, this will also allow the flavour of the rosemary to permeate the meat more effectively.
• 500g lean beef mince
• Good hunk of bread, 2 slices will suffice
• 1 egg yolk
• 1 tbsp of fresh or dried rosemary
• 1 tsp dried basil
• ½ tsp ground cumin
• Salt and pepper
• Olive oil
• 60g ricotta cheese
• 40g parmesan cheese
• 300-400g linguine, depending on number served
1. In a food processor blend together the bread, rosemary, basil, seasoning and cumin – it wants to be the consistency of breadcrumbs. In a large bowl mix together the mince, a couple of handfuls of the bread mix, the yolk and a little olive oil. If it’s a little wet add extra breadcrumbs. Roll this mixture into between 8 and 10 golf ball sized meatballs, set aside – preferably in the fridge.
2. Heat the oven to 200C. If using a cast iron casserole pot, place it on the hob, add a good slosh of olive oil and brown off the meatballs. If not, use a frying pan to brown off the meatballs, before transferring them to your dish of choice. Pour the pre-made tomato sauce over the meatballs, making sure they are evenly covered. In between eat meatball place a little ricotta, before covering it all in a layer of finely grated parmesan. Cook in the oven for roughly 20 minutes, cover if necessary.
3. Serve on a bed of linguine, which will need to begin cooking roughly 10-12 minutes before serving.
This meal will cost in the region of £5, depending on how much the meat was. I didn’t get it reduced this time so it was around £3 – but if cautious one could get it at a thoroughly reduced price of £1.50. This means that each portion comes in at a scrumptious £1.25.