Friday, December 05, 2014


Meatballs in tomato sauce are one of the signature late fall meals. Hearty, warming and comforting. Many meatball recipes use an egg as a binder, but if you knead the meat mixture thoroughly there is no need to add the egg. You can always add the egg if you want to, but then you will have to adjust the amount of breadcrumbs. These are baked in an oven, then additionally cooked in the sauce, so they are as tender as the ones you cook in a skillet. Of course, you can cook these in a skillet for 8-10 minutes if you don't want to bake them.

For the meatballs
500 grams lean ground beef
100 grams Havarti cheese, grated
½ yellow onion, grated
3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons sparkling mineral water
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon chili flakes
For the sauce
400 grams tomatoes, peeled and seeded
300 ml warm water
100 ml red wine
1 tablespoon light olive oil
1 yellow onion, grated
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
300 grams pasta

To make the meatballs, start by roughly grating the cheese (box grater works best). Grate the onion in the same way, mince the garlic and parsley. Place the meat in a large bowl, add the cheese, onion, garlic, parsley and the spices. Briefly mix with a wooden spoon, just to break up the meat clumps. Then add the sparkling mineral water and the breadcrumbs and mix really well by hand, to make a uniform meat dough. If the meat mixture seems a bit wet, add another tablespoon or two of the breadcrumbs. Let the mixture sit in the fridge for 10 minutes, then take rounded tablespoons of the mixture and shape into meatballs. Take a large baking sheet, line it with baking paper and arrange the meatballs, but do not overcrowd the baking sheet. Bake them in a preheated oven, at 200˚C (395˚F) for 30-35 minutes.
While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce. Grate the onion and sauté it for about 5 minutes in light olive oil, on medium heat, then add the minced garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the spices, mix well and add the tomatoes. Let it sauté for about 15 minutes, then add the water and wine, partially cover the pot and let it cook for 15 more minutes on medium heat. By that time, the meatballs will be cooked. Remove them from the oven, and carefully place them in the sauce. Cook for 10 more minutes. While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta al dente, according to the package instructions. Serve immediately with sauce and meatballs. Yields 4 servings.
Note: If you don't want to use Havarti cheese, you can use Mozzarella, just grate it in the same fashion.