Meatballs are incredibly delicious and can be used as a base for a range of different meals. We recommend making a double batch so you can enjoy leftover meatballs in a sub. Just warm them in the sugo and stuff into a baguette with grated parmesan, mozzarella and basil.
Prep time 30 minutes (plus chilling)
Cook 45 minutes
- 400g premium beef mince
- 200g premium pork mince
- 50g finely grated parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve
- 2 tablespoons day-old coarse breadcrumbs, soaked in a little milk
- 1½ tablespoons coarsely chopped mixed herbs, such as thyme, oregano and rosemary
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 garlic clove, ﬁnely chopped
- Olive oil, for cooking
- Olive oil, for cooking
- 1 small brown onion, ﬁnely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, ﬁnely chopped
- 200ml full-bodied red wine
- 500ml tomato passata
- 400g tinned cherry tomatoes
- 2 sprigs each of oregano and thyme
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, or to taste
- 250ml milk
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 150g polenta (not instant polenta)
- 100g kale leaves, torn into bite sized pieces
- 1 large handful of English spinach leaves
- 60g finely grated parmesan cheese
- 40g butter, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. For the meatballs, combine all of the ingredients (except the oil) in a bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Use your hands to combine well until the mixture starts to feel elastic. Roll into golf ball sized balls and refrigerate to rest for 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, to make the sugo, heat a splash of olive oil in a large enamelled cast-iron casserole over medium heat, add the onion, season with salt and pepper and sauté for 8–10 minutes until tender and translucent. Add the garlic, cook until fragrant, then add the wine and simmer for 4–5 minutes until reduced by one-third. Add the passata, tinned tomatoes and herbs, bring to the boil, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
4. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat, add the meatballs in batches and cook, turning occasionally, for 2–3 minutes until browned all over. Add to casserole with the sugo, season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20–25 minutes until just cooked through. Discard the herbs, stir in the vinegar, check the seasoning and keep warm.
5. Meanwhile, to make the green polenta, bring 800ml of water to the boil with the milk and salt in a saucepan over medium–high heat. Add the polenta, whisk to combine and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low so the surface of the polenta is barely bubbling and cook, whisking occasionally to begin with and more frequently as the polenta thickens, for 25–30 minutes until thick and no longer grainy.
6. Meanwhile, blanch the kale in a saucepan of boiling salted water for 1 minute until just tender, adding the spinach for the last 10 seconds of cooking. Drain and refresh in iced water. Drain well and purée in a food processor or blender until smooth, seasoning with salt and pepper. Whisk the parmesan and butter into the polenta, check the seasoning, then swirl the kale purée through.
7. Serve the green polenta topped with the meatballs, sugo and extra parmesan.
8. Meatballs will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and also freeze well, so consider making a double batch.