Nigella's Meatballs

I’m not a big fan of pork, so I was a bit suspicious about these meatballs from a recipe in Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat. However, the husband’s sister had raved about the recipe, and I thought I could probably bear the taste of pork if mixed in with the beef mince. I’m glad I tried them – while I think I’d prefer them made with just beef mince, they are delicious, with a lovely thick sauce, and a gorgeous accompaniment to spaghetti or fettucine.

For the meatballs:

250g minced pork
250g minced beef
1 egg
2 tbspns freshly grated parmesan
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
3 tbspns semolina or breadcrumbs
good grind black pepper
1 tspn salt

For the sauce:

1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tspn dried oregano
1 tbspn butter
1 tbspn olive oil
700g bottle tomato passata
pinch sugar
salt and pepper
100ml full fat milk

Dump all the meatball ingredients into a large bowl, mix with your hands (not something I enjoyed doing – I’m not crazy about raw meat, especially when it’s minced), and then shape into small balls, using approximately a teaspoonsful of mince (although it’s not necessary to actually measure it). This is a little time consuming, but not fiddly. Place the meatballs on baking sheets or plates that you have either lined with gladwrap or lightly oiled, and put in the fridge as you finish them.

Nigella recommends blitzing the onion, garlic and oregano in a food processor – I didn’t bother, and just finely chopped it all together. Heat the butter and oil in a deep wide pan, add the onion-garlic mix and cook over a low-medium for about 10 minutes, letting the mixture become soft. Add the bottle of passata and then fill the empty bottle half full with cold water. Add this to the pan with the pinch of sugar, some salt and pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes.

Stir the milk into the sauce, and then carefully drop the meatballs in one by one. Don’t stir the pan until the meatballs have turned brown to avoid breaking them up. Cook everything for about 20 minutes, with the lid only partially covering it. Add any additional seasoning necessary, then serve over pasta.

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