Braised Southern Italian Meatballs


In southern Italy because the weather is considerably warmer than that of northern Italy, so the food is much lighter. Dishes tend to use lighter ingredients giving the food an amazing freshness.

This recipe is a great example of the fresh flavours of southern Italy, yes I know mash potato doesn’t sound very Italian, but it is (without the addition of cream maybe). The sauce makes itself in the pan and is utterly delicious.


For the meatballs

500g minced beef
500g minced pork
1 large egg
100g Parmesan, freshly grated
finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 garlic clove, grated
little grated nutmeg
1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
12 slices lemon
4 bay leaves
300ml white wine

Mashed potato

Grated Parmesan

Chopped basil

Dash of single cream

(1). Mix together the beef and pork with the egg, Parmesan, parsley and garlic. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper and cook a tiny bit in a frying pan to check the seasoning.
(2). Roll 16 large, golf ball sized meatballs. Rub the meatballs with the oil, place them on a wide baking tray, and balance a disc of lemon on top of each, like a hat.

(3). Roast in a hot oven  at 200 centigrade/gas mark 6 for 15 minutes, until browned in part.

(4). Once browned remove from the oven and transfer them to a small roasting tin which fits them snugly.

(5). Tuck slices of lemon and the bay leaves between the meatballs, and pour in the wine. Cook in a very low oven at 150 centigrade /gas mark 2 for two hours, topping up with water if the juices run dry. The sauce should be thick and velvety by the end. Baste every now and again and the meatballs will come out shiny and moist.

(6). While the meatballs are cooking make a mash potato in your normal way. When the potatoes are cooked, mash them as usual, add a dash of cream, grated Parmesan (to taste), chopped basil and season. Then mix with a wooden spoon over a low heat to make a creamy mash.

(7). Serve the meatballs on a bed of this mash, with a spoonful of their citrusy sauce.


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