These beef meatballs are easy-cheesy! Serve up this baked meatballs recipe with a drizzle of basil oil and some crusty bread.
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Place the mince, egg, breadcrumbs, grated onion, rosemary, half the garlic and half the paprika in a large bowl. Stir until well combined. Season.
Line a baking tray with baking paper. Roll 1-tbs portions of mixture into balls and place on the lined tray. Place in the fridge for 15 mins to chill.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Heat half the oil in a large ovenproof frying pan over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, for 5 mins or until brown all over. Transfer to a plate.
Heat the remaining oil in the pan. Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, remaining garlic and remaining paprika. Cook, stirring, for 5 mins or until onion softens. Stir in wine or stock. Bring to a simmer. Cook for 1 min or until the liquid reduces slightly. Add diced tomato, sugo or passata and cream. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. Season. Add spinach. Stir to combine.
Arrange meatballs over the tomato mixture. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Bake for 20-25 mins or until meatballs are golden brown and the sauce thickens slightly. Set aside to cool slightly.
To make the basil oil, place the basil, garlic and oil in a blender. Blend until smooth. Drizzle over the meatballs.
Few things are heartier than a delicious plate of meatballs, and these are no exception. Oven baked meatballs are juicy, fork-tender, and full of flavour from stewing in the pan with the rich sauce. The stringy, melted mozzarella makes these cheesy meatballs an instant hit. Drizzled with fresh basil oil, these baked meatballs are a set-and-forget meal – pop them in the oven and before you know it you’ll have a delicious dinner on the table.
Homemade meatballs are so simple that even beginner home cooks can perfect them. To make these mince meatballs, place the beef, egg, breadcrumbs, grated onion, rosemary, and half each of the garlic and paprika into a large bowl. You can stir everything together with a spoon, but when it comes to making meatballs, the easiest way to combine all of your ingredients is to use your hands. Whack on some kitchen gloves (or wash your hands really well) and dig into the mixture, squeezing everything together. This will ensure that all of your ingredients (especially the garlic and the paprika) will be evenly distributed throughout the meatballs. Dampen your hands with a bit of water to keep the meat from sticking.
Once everything is thoroughly combined and seasoned, you’ll need to portion the mixture. If you’re wondering how big should meatballs be, that’s up to you. The bigger they are, the longer they will take to cook. 1 tablespoon of the mixture will give you an ideal bite-sized meatball. Once all of the mixture is rolled out, set your lined tray in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes. This will help the meatballs retain their shape when cooked.
This recipe includes two steps for cooking meatballs: first in the pan to seal them, then in the oven to finish them off. The cooked meatballs will have a golden crust and be soft on the inside. With this amazing texture, it has to be the best way to cook meatballs! Start by preheating the oven to 180°C and heating half the oil in an ovenproof frying pan over medium-high heat. Remove the meatballs from the fridge and cook, turning occasionally, in the pan until browned all over. Transfer to a plate.
Heat the remaining oil in a pan and add the onion, carrot, celery, and the remaining garlic and paprika. Cook while stirring for about 5 minutes or until the onion softens. Stir in the wine (or stock if using instead) before bringing to a simmer. When the liquid has slightly reduced, about a minute or so, add the diced tomato, sugo (or passata), and thickened cream. Gently stir everything to combine and bring to a simmer again. Remove from the heat and season, tasting as you go, then fold the spinach into the sauce.
Add the seared meatballs to the sauce, including any plate juices. Arrange them over the tomato mixture and sprinkle with the mozzarella. Place the whole frying pan into the oven on the middle shelf and cook for 20 to 25 minutes. The meatballs should be golden brown, the sauce thickened, and the cheese melted. Serve with crusty bread to scoop up that delicious, meaty sauce.
Serving meatballs in sauce is a very popular way to enjoy them. This is especially true in the case of Italian meatballs, which are commonly paired with pasta and a red sauce like sugo, marinara, red wine, or napolitana. The meatiness of beef and pork balances the sweet and tangy flavour of tomatoes in this classic.
Albondigas, or Spanish meatballs, are similarly served in a tomato sauce that’s commonly seasoned with sweet or smoked paprika depending on your preference. These meatballs are usually small and can be eaten with toothpicks, tapas-style. Then there’s köttbullar, which are Swedish meatballs. These are traditionally served with lingonberry jam or, more commonly, on a bed of mashed potatoes slathered in rich and creamy gravy.
Oil is a lighter alternative to sauce. You could use a good quality olive oil on its own, or infuse it with spices (chilli oil has a great kick) or fresh herbs like we have with basil. To make the basil oil, simply blend the oil, basil, and garlic together in a blender until smooth and liquid. Taste as you go, then drizzle over the meatballs to finish the dish.
There are so many ways to enjoy meatballs, and lots of flavours to choose from. For another easy meatballs recipe, check out Curtis Stone's homemade meatballs, which require just 4 ingredients plus a sauce to enjoy them in. For meatball recipes done a little differently, have a go of this meatball pasta bake or these meatball subs.
If you love international flavours, you’re in luck. Have a go at korma meatballs, Penang meatballs, Asian-style meatballs, Greek-style meatballs, or these bite-sized beef meatballs with pita bread for a more Mediterranean twist.
Energy: 3015kJ/721 Cals (35%)
Protein: 39g (78%)
Fat: 49g (70%)
Sat fat: 16g (67%)
Carb: 22g (7%)
Sugar: 13g (14%)
Fibre: 8g (27%)
Sodium: 457mg (23%)