Italian meatballs

  • 3 tbsp fine white breadcrumbs
  • A little milk, to soak
  • 200g minced beef
  • 200g minced pork
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Flour, to dust
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots, peeled and finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • ½ red chilli, finely sliced
  • Splash of white wine
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • Small bunch of basil
  • 2 tbsp pitted green olives, drained (optional)
  • 1 tbsp chopped oregano
  1. Tip the breadcrumbs into a bowl, pour on just enough milk to cover and set aside to soak. Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
  2. To make the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a pan and gently fry the shallots, garlic and chilli for 2-3 minutes until soft.
  3. Deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine, then add the tinned tomatoes along with the basil and some seasoning. Throw in the olives if using and let the sauce simmer for 5-10 minutes to reduce and thicken.
  4. While the tomato sauce is cooking, prepare the meatballs. Put the minced beef and pork into a large bowl and add the garlic, parsley and Parmesan. Squeeze the breadcrumbs to remove excess milk, then add to the bowl. Mix well, using your hands, and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Shape the mixture into balls, the size of a walnut, and dust in flour. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. When hot, fry the meatballs, in batches if necessary, until golden.
  6. Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce and then transfer to an ovenproof dish. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Discard the basil.
  7. Serve with salad on the side.