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Italian Meatballs with Marinara (Tomato) Sauce

These juicy meatballs are packed with flavour and deserve a sauce that complements; but one that doesn’t overpower. Marinara sauce is a traditional tomato sauce, full of sweetness from the tomatoes, but with a hint of garlic.

Another fantastic and easy recipe for Italian Meatballs with Marinara (Tomato) Sauce from Sarah at @coxys_kitchen

Italian Meatballs with Marinara recipe – If you have recently made this year’s Christmas Pudding, this Italian meatball recipe is ideal for using up excess ingredients like breadcrumbs, nutmeg, cinnamon and mixed spice – all of which will have gone into your Christmas pudding and now into these delicious meatballs.

These juicy meatballs are packed with flavour and deserve a sauce that complements; but one that doesn’t overpower. Marinara sauce is a traditional tomato sauce, full of sweetness from the tomatoes, but with a hint of garlic. It’s a simple sauce with only a few ingredients and the perfect friend to these meatballs.

Italian Meatballs with Marinara recipe

Recipe makes approx. 16 meatballs, serving 4 people

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour

Meatballs ingredients:

  • 570g beef mince
  • 340g pork mince
  • 180g homemade breadcrumbs
  • 240g pecorino cheese
  • 120g Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Handful of chopped, fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 120ml milk
  • ½ Tbsp ground black pepper
  • ½ Tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Olive Oil for cooking

Marinara sauce ingredients:

  • 2 x 400g good quality tinned plum tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ Tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 – 2 tsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper to season

To serve:

  • 360g pasta, spaghetti or ribbon pasta’s work best, such as parpadelle, linguine, tagliatelle
  • Parmesan or pecorino for grating
  • Fresh parsley

Method:

STEP 1: To make the breadcrumbs, cut away the crusts before weighing out the amount, then place in a food processor and blitz until you have breadcrumbs.

STEP 2: With the exception of the olive oil, add all the meatball ingredients to a large bowl and mix everything together really well; some people prefer to use their hands to do this. Once all the ingredients are well combined, take a small handful of the mix and roll into balls, slightly bigger than a golf ball and place on a lightly floured surface until ready to cook.

STEP 3: To make the marinara sauce, heat the olive oil on a low to medium heat and gently cook the garlic until softened – be careful not to burn it as it will give the sauce an acrid flavour, which is not what you want.

Add the tomato purée and the tinned tomatoes and season with salt and pepper, cover loosely and simmer the sauce for 20 minutes. Every now and then check the sauce and using the back of a spoon, crush the tomatoes to help break them down. Depending on the quality of the tomatoes, add the sugar to bring out the sweetness, but if using really good quality tomatoes like San Marzano tomatoes, you can leave the sugar out.

Five minutes before the sauce is done, check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.

STEP 4: While the sauce is simmering, heat the olive oil in a large frying or sauté pan and fry until the meatballs are browned on all sides. Drain away any excess oil, then add the marinara sauce to the meatballs and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through.

STEP 5: Serve with the pasta of your choice, then finish with grated Parmesan or pecorino and sprinkle with the fresh parsley.

Coxy’s Kitchen Tips:

TIP 1 – Using the bread crusts

Don’t throw away the crusts, blitz them in the food processor to make stronger, slightly coarser crumbs and keep them in the freezer until you need them. These make a great coating for chicken or fish.

TIP 2 – Freezing the meatballs

If the beef and pork mince haven’t already been frozen, you can shape the meatballs and freeze them, then simply defrost and cook when you need them.

If the beef and pork mince has already been frozen, cook the meatballs, leave to cool and then freeze them. To reheat, make sure they are fully defrosted, then heat through in a simmering pot of marinara sauce, or in the oven – check the middle to make sure they are fully heated through.

For more fantastic recipes head on over to see @coxys_kitchen page

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