Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Baked Meatballs in Tomato Cream Sauce

We love pasta in this house and I would quite cheerfully have it a lot more often than we do as well (as it is, at least once a week). I like using turkey mince on occasion as it is lighter in fat and calories (leaner even than chicken) and, if cooked with other tasty things, has a nice lightness to it but is still flavourful. Any type of minced meat could be used here though, but I did find the turkey worked really well.

I think it would be a good idea to make double the amount of meatball and freeze the extra for another day. I’ll do that next time.

Be sure to be gently when forming the meatballs to ensure they are as tender and light as possible. If you work the mixture too much you’ll end up with balls that are heavy and dense. Which you don’t want at all.

Baked Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Cream Sauce
serves 2

For the sauce
400g tin whole plum tomatoes
7.5g butter
½ small-med onion, finely chopped
2 tsp tomato purée
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ tsp red pepper flakes
pinch of sugar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
50ml double cream
For the meatballs
20g panko breadcrumbs
½ small-med onion, grated
1½ tsp parsley, finely chopped
1½ tsp basil, finely chopped
25g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
½ tsp sea salt
⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ tsp lemon zest
1 egg, lightly beaten (you’ll only need about half of it)
350g turkey mince
1 tbsp olive oil
To finish
55g buffalo mozzarella, grated
1 tbsp Parmesan, grated
1½ tbsp basil, finely chopped (optional)

To make the sauce, purée the tomatoes until smooth using a stick blender (or use a food processor).

Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat and add the onion. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often so it doesn’t catch, until it begins to soften.

Stir in the tomato paste, garlic and red pepper flakes and lightly fry for about 30 seconds.

Stir in the sugar and the tomato mixture, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes until the sauce is starting to thicken slightly. Season carefully to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream. Pour into an ovenproof dish.

To make the meatballs combine the breadcrumbs, onion, parsley, basil, Parmesan, salt, pepper, garlic, zest and egg. Stir together with a fork just until blended then let the mixture sit for a few minutes.

Gently mix in the turkey mince with your hands until it is all evenly combined.

With wet hands (it will help stopping the mix sticking to them) form the turkey mixture into meatballs about the size of a squash ball. You should get about 12 meatballs.

Preheat the oven to 200˚ C.

Heat the olive oil in the sauté pan used previously (wiped out of course) over over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs to the pan in a single layer, in two batches, and brown on all sides.

Place the browned meatballs in the dish with the sauce, give it a bit of a (gentle) shake and sprinkle the mozzarella and extra Parmesan over the top.

Bake until the cheese is fully melted and bubbling and the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle over the basil and serve with fresh tagliatelle.

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