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Meatballs

by . Featured in NIGELLA BITES
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Introduction

The trick to these meatballs is to keep them small. Don’t actually use a teaspoon, but use about a teaspoon’s amount of mince to roll each ball. If there are children around, so much the better; they tend to like making these. But otherwise, they’re easy enough, and the slow repetitiveness of the action can be rather calming.

To go with these divine meatballs, I like tagliatelle. De Cecco, Spinosi or Cipriani brands are all very good, but making fresh pasta is an experience worth trying. No one’s saying you have to make it, but once you try, you’ll soon see that it’s not difficult.

The trick to these meatballs is to keep them small. Don’t actually use a teaspoon, but use about a teaspoon’s amount of mince to roll each ball. If there are children around, so much the better; they tend to like making these. But otherwise, they’re easy enough, and the slow repetitiveness of the action can be rather calming.

To go with these divine meatballs, I like tagliatelle. De Cecco, Spinosi or Cipriani brands are all very good, but making fresh pasta is an experience worth trying. No one’s saying you have to make it, but once you try, you’ll soon see that it’s not difficult.

Meatballs
Photo by Francesca Yorke

Ingredients

Serves: 6

Metric Cups

For the Meatballs

  • 250 grams minced pork
  • 250 grams minced beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons semolina or breadcrumbs
  • good grinding black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Tomato Sauce

  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (not extra-virgin)
  • 700 grams tomato passata or chopped tomatoes whizzed to a puree
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 100 millilitres full fat milk

For the Meatballs

  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • 8 ounces ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons semolina or breadcrumbs
  • good grinding black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Tomato Sauce

  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (not extra-virgin)
  • 3 cups tomato passata or chopped tomatoes whizzed to a puree
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ½ cup whole milk

Method

For the meatballs:

  1. Just put everything in a large bowl and then, using your hands, mix to combine before shaping into small balls.
  2. Place the meatballs on baking sheets or plates that you have lined with clingfilm, and put each in the fridge as you finish them.

For the tomato sauce:

  1. Put the onion, garlic and oregano into the processor and blitz to a pulp.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a deep, wide pan, then scrape the onion-garlic mix into it and cook over low to medium heat for about 10 minutes. Don’t let the mixture catch, just let it become soft.
  3. Add the tomato passata and then half-fill the empty bottle with cold water (approx. 300-350ml / 1 1/4 cups water). Add this to the pan with the pinch of sugar and some salt and pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes. The tomato sauce will appear thin at this stage, but don’t worry as it will thicken a little later.
  4. Stir in the milk, and then drop the meatballs in one by one. Don’t stir the pan until the meatballs have turned from pink to brown as you don’t want to break them up.
  5. Cook everything for about 20 minutes, with the lid only partially covering it. At the end of cooking time, check the seasoning, as you may want more salt and a grind or two more of pepper.

For the meatballs:

  1. Just put everything in a large bowl and then, using your hands, mix to combine before shaping into small balls.
  2. Place the meatballs on baking sheets or plates that you have lined with clingfilm, and put each in the fridge as you finish them.

For the tomato sauce:

  1. Put the onion, garlic and oregano into the processor and blitz to a pulp.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a deep, wide pan, then scrape the onion-garlic mix into it and cook over low to medium heat for about 10 minutes. Don’t let the mixture catch, just let it become soft.
  3. Add the tomato passata and then half-fill the empty bottle with cold water (approx. 300-350ml / 1 1/4 cups water). Add this to the pan with the pinch of sugar and some salt and pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes. The tomato sauce will appear thin at this stage, but don’t worry as it will thicken a little later.
  4. Stir in the milk, and then drop the meatballs in one by one. Don’t stir the pan until the meatballs have turned from pink to brown as you don’t want to break them up.
  5. Cook everything for about 20 minutes, with the lid only partially covering it. At the end of cooking time, check the seasoning, as you may want more salt and a grind or two more of pepper.

Tell us what you think

What 6 Others have said

  • This is a nice recipe but would brown the meatballs 1st next time as found they gave off to much oil cooking in the sauce and were a bit soft in texture.

    Posted by Clairegavin77 on 30th July 2018
  • I have used this recipe for quite a while now, especially on match nights when there's a few teenagers in the house, goes down a treat :)

    Posted by ladymel on 14th April 2016
  • Second time I've tried this recipe, it's quick easy and so so tasty. It's now become my favourite. Thanks

    Posted by Charmerb on 8th January 2016
  • Have used this recipe lots of times. Needs plenty of seasoning and is delicious served with fresh Tagliatelle.

    Posted by mags101 on 15th July 2015
  • I made the recipe last Thursday and it came out great and got alot of compliments. Of course I had to add twice the a mount of garlic then there was in the original recipe but i think you would encourage it. Thank you Nigella.

    Posted by hilaraz on 16th March 2015
  • How much uncooked pasta to be used in this recepie , and what type ? ... couldn't find !!!

    Posted by Rbmkhtr on 6th March 2015
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