Monday, 12 November 2012

The Meatball Shop's Classic Beef Meatballs Recipe

The lamb ragu is bubbling away (that post is still to come), and I've poured myself a big glass of red, so now it's time to write up the recipe for the moist meatballs that go with the The Meatball Shops tomato sauce recipe from my post last week. Again, this recipe from meatballs is from The Meatball Shop recipe book.

I've never had much success with meatballs in the past. They always either fall apart, are super dry, or end up flat and burnt on one side, and undercooked on the other. This recipe overcomes all of that. The egg holds it together nicely, the ricotta keeps the meatballs light and moist but isn't overpowering, and being baked not fried, they cook nice and evenly. It's also a pretty much one dish recipe, which is always a plus. I even bake them in a throw away baking tray, so there isn't even a baking tray to wash up afterwards.

2 tbs olive oil
900g of 80% lean ground beef
1 C ricotta
2 large eggs
1/2 C bread crumbs
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley
1 tbs chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp of dried
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (I promise, it's not too spicy)
1/4 tsp ground fennel
4 C classic tomato sauce (the recipe's here if you're looking for it)

Pre-heat the oven to 230 degree celsius. Drizzle the oil into the baking tray, about a 9x13 inches tray, and use your hand or some baking paper to spread the oil to evenly coat the tray. As I mentioned, I used one of those great throw away trays.

Put the 900g beef, 1 C ricotta, 2 eggs, 1/2 C bread crumbs, 1/4 C chopped parsley, oregano (either 1 tbs fresh or 1 tsp dries), 2 tsb salt, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes and 1/4 tsp ground fennel into a large mixing bowl. Get your hands nice and dirty and mix the ingredients by hand until it's really well combined. Trust me, hands will be the easiest way with this dish.
Now all you need to do is roll out the meatballs and put them in the tray. Roll them about the size of a golf ball, and pack them well in the tray, line them up nice and snuggly in even rows with the balls touching each other.
Pop into the oven for about 20mins. Ideally, the centre of the balls should reach about 75 degrees, but I didn't have my meat thermometer so I didn't worry too much about that.

While the meatballs are cooking, put your 4 C classic tomato sauce into a pan and gently heat it.

When the meatballs are firm and cooked through, take them out of the oven and drain out the excess grease from the pan. Cover the meatballs in that lovely warm tomato sauce. Pop the meatballs back into the over for another 15mins, and voila, done. I served mine with some penne, for something a bit different, and a crunchy green salad for some freshness.

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