Italian baked meatballs with garlic baguettes
- January 2016
- Serves 4
- Hands-on time 30 min, simmering time 40 min, oven time 10 min
Flavour-packed, tangy tomato sauce, oodles of melted mozzarella. This meatballs recipe is crowd-pleasing comfort food at its absolute best.
- 52.8g (24.3g saturated)
- 65.5g (13.5g sugars)
For the tomato sauce
- 35ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
- Pinch sugar
For the meatballs
- 1 red onion, grated
- 1½ tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
- 6-10 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- Finely grated zest ½ lemon
- 500g British beef mince (15-20 per cent fat)
- Splash olive oil
- 125g ball fresh mozzarella, torn
For the baguettes
- 75g salted butter
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- Small handful fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 2 medium baguettes
- To make the tomato sauce, heat the oil in a large frying pan, then add the onion and garlic and fry over a gentle heat for 5-6 minutes, stirring often, until softened but not coloured. Add the chopped tomatoes with the sugar, season well and turn the heat up so the sauce is bubbling gently. Cook for 40 minutes, stirring often.
- Meanwhile, make the meatballs. Put all the ingredients apart from the oil and cheese in a bowl. Season. Mix with your hands, then roll into 20-24 balls the size of walnuts.
- Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/ gas 7. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat. When hot, add the meatballs, frying on all sides for 5-6 minutes until golden. Drop them into the sauce for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and top with the cheese. Season, then bake for 8-10 minutes until the cheese has melted.
- Mix the butter with the garlic and parsley. Slice the baguettes at an angle into thirds, split them open and pull out most of the insides. Spread the baguette shells with the garlic butter and set aside.
- Let the meatballs stand for 2-3 minutes, then serve with the garlicky baguettes. Use the baguettes to scoop up the meatballs and sauce, which will melt the butter.
This looks like a lot of anchovies, but it doesn’t make your meatballs taste fishy – it just gives them a savoury depth of flavour. If you’re worried, add 6, fry some of the mixture, taste, then add the rest if you want to.
Use the insides of the baguettes (step 4) to make breadcrumbs.
Make the tomato sauce and garlic butter 3-4 days in advance and chill, covered, or freeze for up to 1 month. You can freeze the uncooked meatballs at the end of step 2 (on trays, then bag up) for up to a month. Or cook the meatballs in the tomato sauce as in step 3, then cool and freeze without the cheese. Defrost to continue.
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