Meatballs are another favourite in my household, especially when paired with mozzarella. These meatballs are also jam-packed with herbs, enhancing the flavour of the dish. You can swap the beef mince for pork mince or turkey mince, if you prefer.
600g minced beef
1 onion, finely diced
4 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tbsp finely chopped tarragon leaves
2 tbsp finely chopped basil leaves
50g dried breadcrumbs
½ tsp table salt
1 egg, beaten
2 × 125g balls buffalo mozzarella, drained well, each cut into 8 pieces
6 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, finely diced
1 tsp table salt
8 tbsp tomato purée
2 × 400g tins chopped tomatoes
800ml beef stock
8 tbsp tomato ketchup
8 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 bay leaves
2 tsp Dijon mustard
½ bunch of basil, leaves chopped
100g Cheddar cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6.
Combine all ingredients, except mozzarella, in a bowl. Divide the mix into 16 and wrap the mince around each piece of mozzarella, to form the meatballs. Cover and chill in the fridge.
Heat 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and table salt and cook for 7–10 minutes until soft, then add the tomato purée.
Cook for a further 4 minutes then add the remaining ingredients for the sauce. Simmer gently for 25 minutes, stirring regularly, until thick and flavoursome. Remove the bay leaves and blend with a stick blender until smooth. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the meatballs (in batches, so you don’t overcrowd them). Brown them for 5 minutes.
Place the meatballs in a 20cm square baking dish. Cover with the tomato sauce (you might have some left over; if so, freeze it and serve it over pasta), chopped basil and grated cheese and bake for 20 minutes until bubbling.