Meatballs in tomato sauce

I made a big batch of meatballs the other afternoon. It was a perfect way to spend a cold and wet January afternoon and to replenish supplies of home made ready meals for the freezer. All I need to do now is defrost a portion and boil up some spaghetti.

I based this on a Jamie Oliver recipe which includes lemon zest which I have never used before in meatballs but it makes a big improvement – you can really taste the lemon. I used plenty of breadcrumbs to lighten the mixture which is important – otherwise the meat is very dense. Many recipes suggest soaking the breadcrumbs in milk first which I didn’t do (I meant to, but just forgot in the end).

It’s a good idea to use a mix of different meat. I’ve used beef and pork but turkey would also be an option.

These recipe makes about  52 balls (using about a teaspoonful of mixture to make each meatball) so you will need to adjust the quantities for your own needs. I’ve estimated around five to six meatballs for a decent sized portion.


For the meatballs:

  • 500g pork mince (10% fat)
  • 750g beef mince (5% fat)
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped rosemary
  • A few sage leaves, finely chopped
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil for frying

For the tomato sauce:

  • 3 tins of tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 4 shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • A few basil leaves
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Make the tomato sauce by cooking the shallots and garlic in the oil oil until soft. Add the tinned tomatoes then rinse out each tin halfway with boiling water and add to the pan. Add the tomato puree, basil leaves and salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer while you prepare the meatballs.
  2. Put all of the ingredients except the egg yolk in to a big bowl and mix thoroughly – it’s easiest to do this with clean hands. Ensure the mixture is seasoned well. Add the egg yolk, stir again and form into balls. Chill the balls in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  3. Heat the oil and cook the meatballs in batches for about five minutes to brown them and then add to the tomato sauce. Simmer for 45 minutes.

Serve with spaghetti. I ate a portion with some mashed celeriac leftover from my roasted whole celeriac dinner.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Amazingly delicious!


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