Recipe: Herb and Mozzarella Meatball Bake

Meatballs are another favourite in my household, especially when paired with mozzarella. These meatballs are also jam-packed with herbs, enhancing the flavour of the dish. You can swap the beef mince for pork mince or turkey mince, if you prefer.

INGREDIENTS

Meatballs

600g minced beef
1 onion, finely diced
4 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tbsp finely chopped tarragon leaves
2 tbsp finely chopped basil leaves
50g dried breadcrumbs
½ tsp table salt
1 egg, beaten
2 × 125g balls buffalo mozzarella, drained well, each cut into 8 pieces

Tomato Sauce

6 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, finely diced
1 tsp table salt
8 tbsp tomato purée
2 × 400g tins chopped tomatoes
800ml beef stock
8 tbsp tomato ketchup
8 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 bay leaves
2 tsp Dijon mustard

To Finish

½ bunch of basil, leaves chopped
100g Cheddar cheese, grated

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6.

Meatballs

Combine all ingredients, except mozzarella, in a bowl. Divide the mix into 16 and wrap the mince around each piece of mozzarella, to form the meatballs. Cover and chill in the fridge.

Tomato Sauce 

Heat 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and table salt and cook for 7–10 minutes until soft, then add the tomato purée.

Cook for a further 4 minutes then add the remaining ingredients for the sauce. Simmer gently for 25 minutes, stirring regularly, until thick and flavoursome. Remove the bay leaves and blend with a stick blender until smooth. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the meatballs (in batches, so you don’t overcrowd them). Brown them for 5 minutes.

To Finish

Place the meatballs in a 20cm square baking dish. Cover with the tomato sauce (you might have some left over; if so, freeze it and serve it over pasta), chopped basil and grated cheese and bake for 20 minutes until bubbling.

This recipe is from Marcus’ cookbook, New Classics. Find your copy here.