Home > Cheese > Meat, Poultry and Sausages > Tomato Braised Meatballs with Mozzarella

Tomato Braised Meatballs with Mozzarella


For the meatballs

8 oz/225 g stale baguette or ciabatta bread, sliced
cup/30 g fresh basil, chopped
1 lb/455 g ground/minced beef
1 lb/455 g ground/minced pork
1 cup/100 g grated pecorino romano cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
20 bocconcini di mozzarella cheese

For the sauce

6 tbsp/9o ml extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, minced
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 lb/g10 g fresh or canned san marzano or plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Pinch of crushed red chillies

For assembling the dish

cup/60 ml extra-virgin olive oil
cup/120 ml water


Serves: 6


To prepare the meatballs: quickly submerge the bread slices in enough cold water to thoroughly soak them, then squeeze dry. Tear the hydrated bread into small pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the basil, beef, pork, pecorino, eggs, salt and a few grindings of pepper. Mix together with clean hands. Form the mixture into twenty small patties, 2 in/5 cm in diameter. Lay a single bocconcini ball on each patty and then mould the meat mixture around the cheese to form meatballs. The meatballs can be prepared to this point up to a day ahead.

To prepare the sauce: heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the onions and cook for about 10 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic, turn up the heat to medium, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the garlic is gilded and aromatic. Add the tomatoes, season well with salt and pepper, and add the chillies. Simmer the sauce for 20 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat and allow them to cool completely. Puree the sauce in a food mill or food processor fitted with the blade attachment.

To assemble the dish: in a deep saucepan large enough to hold the meatballs and sauce, heat the olive oil until hot but not smoking. Brown the meatballs a few at a time, turning them from time to time to sear all around. Be careful not to crowd the pan, which will reduce the temperature and prevent a good searing. Transfer browned meatballs as they are finished to a large plate and continue until all of the meatballs are browned. Drain some of the oil and cooking fats from the pan, leaving some behind. Deglaze the bottom of the pan with the water, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get all the delicious bits. Add the pureed tomato sauce and then the meatballs, gently pressing them into the sauce. Bring to a simmer and gently cook for 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the heat and serve hot with plenty of sauce alongside.

Related food category: