All this pride is slightly misplaced though given that I have Jo Pratt to thank for my superior meatballs. Have you seen any of her cookbooks? They aren't massively well known as far as I am aware but she is one of my favourite food writers and I wax lyrical about her recipes when I get half a chance.
Her recipes are often designed for two, which I love. It is less family food more, 'Ooof go on, you have no kids, eat a massive Brie risotto for dinner!'. She separates her first cookbook In the Mood for Food into sections based on how you are feeling that day like feeling healthy, needing comfort food or feeding your bestest gal (or guy!) pals.
As well as her meatballs I love her Cauliflower Cheese soup which, I agree with Jo, is one of the best things going when you have a cold as it is packed with nutrients and feels like a great big warm hug for your insides. I also love her Saucy Banana pudding which has a gooey caramel layer and is divine with cream.
But anyway, back to the meatballs...I now adapt her recipe for what I believe is the optimal meatball but the credit really has to be hers for giving me the beginning of my greatest ever recipe and allowing me to unashamedly proclaim myself 'Meatball Queen'.
The genius of the recipe also comes from the fact that they go straight in the oven and so require minimal fuss. Do blitz the onions in a food processor if you can because it makes all the difference to the finished meatballs. No giant chunks of onion in sight!
So here it is, the recipe of all recipes. Use it wisely.
The Best Meatballs in the Entire World
For the Meatballs:
500g pack of lean mince beef
One slice of white bread whizzed into breadcrumbs in the food processorOne small onion whizzed up in the food processor
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1 tsp of sweet paprika
2 tablespoons of finely grated parmesan
½ tsp of Very Lazy Red Chilli (or half a fresh red chilli)
1 egg, whisked
A little salt and pepper as you like
For the Sauce:
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp of caster sugar
A good splash of red wine
- First make the meatballs by mixing all the ingredients together. Just stick your hands in there and go nuts. Don't over squish or work the mixture longer than it takes to combine the ingredients. Over squishing makes for tough meatballs.
- Roll up the mixture into little balls and place into an oven proof dish. This should make about 20.
- Pour over a little olive oil and put the dish of meatballs in the oven preheated to 200 C or Gas Mark 6 for 10 minutes.
- Remove the meatballs, they should be started to brown nicely on top, and turn them over gently using two forks. Pour a splash of wine over the meatballs, just enough to pour a little over each one, about 150 mls in all. Return to the oven for another ten minutes.
- Pour over the tomatoes, sprinkle on the sugar and basil and return to the oven for 20-25 mins. By now the sauce should be bubbling nicely and the meatballs will be soft and lovely.
- Serve with couscous or pasta. And GO NUTS!