I make meatballs in sauce often but have never thought to put the recipe up on Chew Town. This is largely because I think of meatballs as comfort food and maybe a little too ‘rustic’ for the blog because of how simple and easy they are to make and cook. But, I’ve thought this about recipes before and when I finally get to putting my rustic midweek meal recipes up on Chew Town they are often the blog’s most popular posts. I have to learn to listen to my lovely readers and bring them more of my weeknight home style Italian cooking. So here is one such recipe for you all and this one is a total winner.
Regular readers of Chew Town would have seen my Chilli Pesto scrolls last week which I created for Saclà using their wonderful brand of pestos. I was asked to create two recipes, so for the first I created something unusual that people wouldn’t think of using pesto for; and in contrast, I wanted the second recipe to be extremely quick, simple and rustic.
I’m definitely a maker of fresh pesto, but midweek I like to take as many steps out of the process as possible when making flavourful meals. I want my meals to be quick, easy and tasty, so I’m happy to use store bought products if it gets me to the end product quicker and still provides a flavourful result. The key is ensuring your store bought product is of the best quality possible, and as I mentioned last week all of the Saclà products are made in Italy from the freshest ingredients and using traditional recipes.
So when thinking of what to make I was reminded of a conversation with Souvlaki for the Soul where we shared our meatball tips and this got me thinking I could use the Saclà pesto in my meatballs and cook it in their cherry tomato pasta sauce (which, by the way is such an excellent pasta sauce with full cherry tomatoes that burst in your mouth upon impact).
By using the pesto in the meatballs you have a massive injection of flavour with very few ingredients and steps. Then to cook, you just need to pour the pasta sauce over the top, pop it in the oven and 20 mins later you have a wonderfully flavourful mid week meal.
Pesto Polpette con Passata (Pesto Meatballs in Sauce)
Makes 14 meatballs
500g good quality beef mince
2 1/2 tablespoons Saclà brand Classic Basil Pesto
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 clove garlic
1/4 onion finely diced
Salt and pepper to taste
120g jar Saclà brand Cherry Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce
Small handful grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
4-5 basil leaves roughly torn
Preheat oven to 180° Celsius.
Place beef mince, pesto, bread crumbs, garlic, onion and salt and pepper in a bowl and mix with your hands until combined (don’t overmix, or the meatballs will become tough). Roll generous tablespoon full portions of the mixture into balls and set aside.
In a baking dish, pour half of the pasta sauce into the base and place the meatballs on top. Top with the remaining pasta sauce, sprinkle with the cheese and basil and bake covered with aluminium foil for 20-25 minutes in the oven.
Remove from heat and serve with a herb and fennel salad.
Chew Town would like to acknowledge that this post was sponsored by Sacla. You can read Chew Town’s disclosure statement here for more information on brands that Chew Town chooses to work with and why. The recipe above was created, developed and photographed by Chew Town.