OVEN BAKED ITALIAN MEATBALLS

Ingredients
Sauce:
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 24 oz / 800 g crushed tomato (2 x standard cans)
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp red pepper (chili) flakes (optional)
  • 2 tsp dried Italian herb mix (parsley, basil, thyme, oregano)
  • 1 tsp salt + black pepper
Meatballs:
  • 1 lightly packed cup of sliced white sandwich bread, torn into small pieces, crusts removed (Note 1)
  • ½ onion, grated – including juices (yellow, brown or white)
  • 14 oz / 400 g ground beef (beef mince)
  • 3 oz / 100g ground pork (mince) or substitute with ground beef (beef mince) (Note 2)
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped (Note 3)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (or parmesan), freshly grated
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • Olive oil spray (or other oil spray)
Serving:
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano or parmesan, freshly grated
Instructions
Sauce:
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Place onion, garlic and olive oil in a (approx) 30 x 25 cm / 12 x 10″ pan (Note 4). Mix, spread out, then bake for 8 minutes. (Start the meatballs)

  3. Remove from oven, add remaining Sauce ingredients. Mix.
  4. Place rack on top of pan.
Meatballs:
  1. Turn oven up to 200C/390F.
  2. Place the bread and onion in a large bowl. Mix to combine so the onion juice soaks the bread, set aside for 3 minutes. Bread should disintegrate into mush – if not, add a splash of milk or water to help it along.
  3. Add all the remaining Meatball ingredients except oil spray. Use you hands to mix well.
  4. Measure out very generously heaped tablespoons and roll into firm balls. It should make around 20 – don’t make them too small, they will cook too quickly.
  5. Place meatballs on the rack, ensuring they are positioned over the pan so the juices will drip into the Sauce.
  6. Spray generously with oil.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes. Optional: flick to grill/broil on high for 2 minutes at the end, to get better browning.
  8. Transfer meatballs from rack into the Sauce. Stir to coat meatballs in Sauce.
  9. Serve with spaghetti or other pasta of choice, garnished with fresh parsley and parmesan.

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