Italian Meatballs in Chunky Tomato Sauce

The Hairy Dieters: How to love food and lose weight is one of my favourite cookbooks and their Italian Meatballs in Chunky Tomato Sauce recipe has become a staple in my kitchen now. I cannot recommend the book enough. The meatballs are easy and delicious, freeze well and make a quick low calorie dinner with a small serving of pasta and a big salad.


Serves 4
For the meatballs

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely grated
2 cloves garlic, pureed
500g extra lean beef mince (or pork if you prefer or 250g of each)
1 tsp oregano
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp olive oil

For the tomato sauce
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp oregano
400g tin chopped tomatoes
100ml red wine (or water)
200ml cold water
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2-1 tsp sugar (if the tomatoes are acidic)

Start by making the meatballs, put the mince into a large bowl and add the onion, carrot, garlic, oregano and lots of freshly ground black pepper. With clean hands, mix until everything is well combined and then shape the mixture into 24 small balls (slightly larger that a walnut in its shell). I find it easiest to divide the mixture into 4 quarters of the bowl and then get 6 balls from each quarter.

Add the oil to a large non stick frying pan and fry the meatballs over a medium heat for 5 minutes, making sure to keep rolling or turning the meatballs until they are lightly browned. Once browned all over, set aside on the heat or transfer them to a plate.

To make the sauce, add the oil to a medium saucepan or casserole pot and then add the onion. Fry for 4 minutes, stirring regularly and then add the garlic for another minute. Tip in the tomatoes, red wine, oregano and water into the pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and then add the meatballs and return to a simmer.

Cover the pan loosely with a lid and leave the meatballs to simmer gently in the sauce for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and continue simmering gently for another 15-20 minutes or until the sauce is thick. Stir often and add a little extra water if the sauce reduces too quickly.

Serve hot with pasta or oven roasted vegetables.

5 thoughts on “Italian Meatballs in Chunky Tomato Sauce

  1. I have made this meatball recipe,and stuck to it to the letter,but I found it without much taste in it. I think that it would be better to use beef stock or beef broth instead of the 200ml.of cold water. Sorry..

  2. I’ve made this a few times but am now going to try what Trevor suggests with beef stock,so watch this space I will tell you tomorrow if it tasted any better.

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