pork and sage meatballs in tomato sauce

Lindsay Bareham

I used to be terrified of cooking meatballs. They look fragile but rarely fall apart if egg is included. These are cooked in a fresh tomato sauce. Try them with pasta or over green beans.

serves 4, prep 35 min, cook 35 min

bunch of spring onions
3 garlic cloves
50g butter
50g fresh breadcrumbs
2 tbsp yoghurt or milk
1 egg
500g minced pork
6 flourishing sage leaves
2 tbsp coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
3 tbsp olive oil
10 tomatoes, approx 800g
1 tbsp tomato ketchup or puree

Finely slice the onions. Peel and finely chop 1 garlic. Finely chop the sage. Soften onions and garlic in the butter in a frying pan. Stir in the sage and turn off the heat. Mix crumbs into the milk. Crack the egg into a mixing bowl. Whisk. Then add the meat, bread and parsley. Season. Add onions and use fork or hands to mix. Knead into a ball.

With wet hands, pinch off small lumps and quickly roll into cherry tomato-sized balls, expecting to make 60. Chill, covered with clingfilm. Fry remaining garlic for a couple of minutes without letting it brown. Add tomatoes and cook until floppy and sauce-like. Squash the sauce through a sieve and then back into the pan. Stir in the ketchup, taste and adjust the seasoning. Re-heat and when the sauce is bubbling, drop the meatballs in. Simmer, shaking the pan occasionally, for about 15 min.