Beef and pork meatballs in spicy tomato sauce

Beef and pork meatballs in spicy tomato sauce

Dig In!
Mark Roper

Meatballs are something I grew up eating. They’re tasty, cheap and practically foolproof to make. I’ve accentuated the Italian flavours here by adding anchovies, capers and chilli.


Quantity Ingredient
300g lean beef mince
200g pork mince
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
50g long-grain white rice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 egg, lightly beaten
15g finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
30g finely chopped basil, plus extra whole leaves for garnish
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
3 anchovy fillets in oil, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
50g capers
60ml red wine vinegar
400g tinned chopped tomatoes
190ml tomato passata
pinch sugar
100g mozzarella, grated
100g pecorino, grated
steamed rice, to serve
crusty bread, to serve


  1. In a large bowl, combine the beef and pork mince, half the garlic, the rice, oregano, egg, parsley and the chopped basil. Season with salt and pepper. Use your hands to combine the ingredients really well. Form walnut-sized meatballs.
  2. Heat a large deep-sided, ovenproof frying pan over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the meatballs to the pan and brown them on all sides, for about 5–6 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining oil to the pan, reduce the heat to medium, add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes until soft. Add the remaining garlic, the anchovies, chilli flakes and capers and cook for a further minute. Add the red wine vinegar and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until the liquid has reduced. Add the tinned tomatoes and passata and season with the sugar Bring to the boil then return the meatballs to the pan in an even layer Cover the pan with a lid or foil and cook for 10-12 minutes. Remove the lid or foil, stir and cook for a further 5 minutes until cooked through.
  4. Turn the grill to the highest heat.
  5. Sprinkle the combined grated mozzarella and pecorino cheeses over the top of the meatballs and place the pan under the grill to melt and lightly brown the cheese. Alternatively, melt the cheese in the oven on 200°C (or 180°C for a fan-forced oven). Remove the pan from the grill, garnish with the whole basil leaves and serve. Serve with steamed rice and crusty bread.
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