Instead of making up a meatball mixture with minced meat or meats, parmesan, garlic and egg, I simply squeeze the stuffing out of about half a kilo of Italian sausages and roll it into cherry tomato-sized balls.
- 450g/1lb Italian sausages
- 2 tbsp garlic oil
- 4 fat or 6 spindly spring onions
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 4 tbsp white wine or vermouth
- 2 x 400g/14oz cans chopped tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- fresh parsley (optional)
Squeeze out the sausagemeat from the sausages and roll small cherry tomato-sized meatballs out of it, putting them onto a cling film-lined baking tray as you go. Your final tally should be around 40.
Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan or flameproof casserole and add the meatballs, frying them until golden-brown, as they become firmer, nudge them up in the pan to make room for the rest if you can’t fit them all in at first.
When all the meatballs are in the pan and browned, add the spring onion and oregano and stir about gently.
Add the wine (or vermouth) and chopped tomatoes, then fill half of one of the empty cans with cold water and tip it into the other empty can, then into the pan – the can-to-can technique is just my way of making sure you swill out as much of the tomato residue as possible.
Pop in the bay leaves and let the pan come to a fast simmer. Leave to cook like this, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly and the meatballs are cooked through. Check the sauce for seasoning, adding some salt and pepper if you like.
During this time you can cook whatever you fancy to go with the meatballs, whether it be pasta, rice, whatever.
Once the meatballs are ready, you can eat them immediately or let them stand, off the heat but still on the stove, for 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken up a bit on standing. Should your diners be other than children who baulk at ‘green bits’, sprinkle with parsley to serve.
This dish is perfect for cooking in advance and freezing. Leave to cool, then divide into portions and pour into containers. Place in the freezer and you will always have tasty meatballs on standby. This dish will last in the freezer for 2 months.