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Meatballs Baked in Passata

I love this dish and the ease of cooking it. You can freeze the rolled meatballs after rolling and defrost overnight the day before cooking. They are also lovely the next day if cooked in advance. This all makes the dish so easy to add to a tapas feast or prepare in advance for a dinner party. It is questionable with meatballs whether the bacon and onion are best cooked before rolling into the mix, yet this is why I have enjoyed this recipe I believe – it is not only easier to skip this step, I also find the flavour more subtle and at the same time fuller and more rounded. My favourite meatball recipe – thankyou Richard Huddleston!

Pictured: Meatballs baked in Passata

Meatball Ingredients -
500g pork or beef mince
3 rashers bacon, finely diced (uncooked)
1 red onion, finely diced
1 lemon, zest only
Parmesan cheese, a good small handful
1 egg
Breadcrumbs - a good handful, more if necessary to bind - you can use dried or day old bread.
Parsley, a small handful, or to taste
Optional - 2 red chillis, finely diced

Tomato Passata Sauce –
1 large jar of passata
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or minced
Basil - a small handful

Combine mince, bacon, red onion, lemon zest, parmesan, egg, breadcrumbs, parsley, and chilli if using. Roll into large balls the size of golf balls. If mixture feels delicate you can firm up in the fridge for half an hour. Shallow fry in a pan to brown - as you will be baking these as well, they do not need to be cooked through, you are adding flavour at this stage with the browning, and sealing the meatballs into shape.
Set aside and preheat oven to 180°C.

Heat the tomato passata with the garlic and basil to infuse the flavour.

When warm pour over meatballs and place in oven for 45 minutes until cooked through and bubbling.

Serve over pasta, or rice, or as I did - part of a Spanish tapas feast.

Lovely the next day too.

Serves 6 - 8