Thursday, 4 December 2014

COOKED: Ricotta Meatballs with Courgette Ribbons

These meatballs are probably, not only the nicest I have ever made, but the nicest I have ever eaten. I made Ottolenghi's a while ago which were DELICIOUS but these newbies are definitely my favourites to make at home!
I'm not really the biggest meat eater anymore, spending 4-5 out of 7 days each week eating veggie/pescetarian food. It's for no real reason, other than the fact I think meals not containing meat are really tasty.
I originally saw this recipe in the magazine supplement of a weekend newspaper - I can't for the life of me remember which one but it will no doubt have been The Telegraph or The Times. What appealed to me was not only the mouthwatering photograph but also the fact these meatballs are easy to make - taking about 10-15 minutes to prepare and around 18-20 minutes to cook in the oven.
All you need to serve 4-6 people is:
2 tbsp olive oil - I cook mostly with coconut oil so you could always use 1 tbsp (of that)
500g minced beef - I always opt for lean/organic
125g ricotta
1 egg, beaten,
50g breadcrumbs - I go for a sourdough
1 large onion, diced
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Let's get started:
Preheat your oven to 200 (fan assisted) - 230 normal or gas mark 8.
Grease a baking tray with the oil (or coconut oil if that's what you prefer) - place this to one side.

Once you've chopped your ingredients up, mix them all in a large bowl.

Throw in the egg and continue to mix - you need to make sure the ingredients are combined well so every meatball has the full effect of the delicious flavour.

Now you need to break the mixture up into little rounded meatballs - around 4cm in diameter. You can see how I've sized them.

Pop them in the oven for 18-20 minutes (keep an eye on them!) and get to work on your accompanying sauce.
My go-to recipe (I say that loosely) is one I was taught by my Mum and just throw together every time I need a tomato-based sauce.
1 tin of chopped tomatoes, 1 onion (diced), 2 tsp herbs de provence, 1 crushed clove of garlic,1 tbsp tomato puree, 1 tsp sundried tomato pesto, crackled black pepper and sea salt to season. I sometimes throw a few chilli flakes in too. You need to make sure the onions are soft before adding the chopped tomatoes. When the tomatoes are in, they need to simmer on a low heat for around 10 minutes so they reduce. It really is best to cook your sauce slowly because you get the best flavour from it.

Once the meatballs are done (they should look a golden brown colour) - serve them up with your chosen companion - I have mine with Courgette Ribbons (cooked in a tiny bit of coconut oil, lemon juice and cracked black pepper)
You could also serve them up with some fresh linguini or spaghetti.

A simple, delicious meal for a quick dinner or even to impress your friends.

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