Beef, pork and Parmesan meatballs with tomato sauce and mozzarella

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Meat mains

Beef, pork and Parmesan meatballs with tomato sauce and mozzarella

Main Serves 8 2h
Pork is an excellent addition to the beef in these meatballs, lightening a rich dish up, and making the dish more receptive to other flavours. Be careful not to overmix the meatball mixture or they will become chewy rather than meltingly soft.

Ingredients

for the tomato sauce

  • 3 small red onions, finely diced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3x400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • generous bunch basil, leaves separated from stalks

for the meatballs

  • 300g onions, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g diced pork
  • 50ml milk
  • 75g breadcrumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 100g Parmesan, grated
  • 500g minced beef
  • 3 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • to finish:
  • glass red or white wine
  • 150g mozzarella, shredded
  • 50g Parmesan, grated

Method

Prep time: 20 min
Cooking time: 1h 40 min

main

  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 190°C/Gas 5.

To make the tomato sauce

  • Step 1

    , gently fry the onions in the olive oil for 10 minutes, add the garlic and fry for another couple of minutes.
  • Step 2

    Add all the remaining ingredients (except the basil), bring to a simmer and gently cook for about 1 hour. Partially cover the pan with a lid; it is likely to spit. If it looks volcanic, add a little veg stock or water and give it a stir. After an hour, liquidise with a stick blender and add the chopped basil leaves.

Make the meatballs

  • Step 1

    : Soften the onion in the olive oil over a low heat for 5 minutes. Next, finely dice the pork and pulse in the food processor. Mix together the milk and breadcrumbs then add to the pork along with the onions and garlic, and pulse again. Add the Parmesan, beef, parsley and season. Pulse again, tip into a bowl and finish mixing by hand. You need a bit of texture; too much pulsing will turn the meat rubbery.
  • Step 2

    Form the meatballs (2.5cm is a good size) and brown in batches in a non-stick frying pan, then tip into a lasagne dish. Deglaze the pan with the wine, add the tomato sauce, bring to a simmer and pour over the meatballs. Sprinkle over the cheeses and bake for 20 minutes, or until browned. Serve with plain basmati rice and some greens, beans or chard.