Meatballs with tomato sauce

This Italian meatball recipe is served with a simple tomato sauce – just as it should be. Using Pecorino Toscana and Parmesan in the meatball mix adds bags of flavour to this traditional Italian recipe.

First published in 2017

This recipe can be made into a more substantial one-course dish with the addition of peas and serving it with bread or a rice pilaf. Follow the recipe above, adding 200g petits pois with the chopped tomatoes. If there is some tomato and pea sauce left over, reheat it the next day to accompany short pasta, and sprinkle with grated Parmesan just before serving.




Italian meatballs and tomato sauce

  • 100g of breadcrumbs, slightly stale
  • 250ml of milk
  • 350g of minced meat, a mixture of beef and pork
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 tbsp of pecorino, grated (ideally Pecorino Toscana cheese)
  • 30g of Parmesan, grated
  • 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 125ml of dry white wine
  • 300g of tinned chopped tomatoes
  • salt
  • pepper


To begin, place the breadcrumbs and milk in a bowl and leave to soak for 10 minutes. After this time, remove the bread and squeeze out any excess liquid
In a large bowl, combine the mince, half of the parsley, the garlic, cheeses and eggs, mixing well with your hands. Season with salt and pepper, add the soaked breadcrumbs and mix well
Using your hands, shape the mixture into round meatballs, each about 2cm in diameter
Add the oil to a large frying pan and place over a medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and sweat for 2–3 minutes until soft but without colour. Add the meatballs to the pan and fry for 5–6 minutes, turning often until evenly coloured on all sides
Add the wine to the pan and cook down until it has entirely evaporated. Pour in the tinned tomatoes and simmer for 20–25 minutes – after this time the meatballs will be cooked through and the sauce will have thickened nicely. Sprinkle with the reserved parsley and serve
First published in 2017

Eataly: Contemporary Italian Recipes, published by Phaidon, is the comprehensive cookbook on Italian food, inspired by the world's most beloved Italian food stories.

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