3 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, finely diced
3 clove garlic, finely chopped
Pinch flake salt
2 tbsp fresh thyme, picked, chopped (or use 2 tsp dried herb)
½ cup red wine (optional)
2 x 400g crushed tinned tomato
200ml chicken stock
500g pork/veal mince
½ cup dried breadcrumbs
½ cup finely grated parmesan
2 tbsp fresh thyme, picked, chopped (or use 1 tbsp mixed dried herbs)
1 cup polenta
300ml chicken stock
40g unsalted butter
½ cup parmesan, finely grated plus extra to serve
Extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
First thing is to make the sauce which will cook the meat balls.
Place a medium to large saucepan (which has a lid), over a medium/high heat.
Add the oil, onion, garlic, and pinch of salt then sweat, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes.
Add the thyme and cook for another minute.
Add the wine and reduce by half then add the tomatoes and stock and simmer for 15 minutes.
If not using the wine, then just add the tomatoes, stock a little more salt and pepper and simmer for 15 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, you can make the meat balls.
Combine the mince, breadcrumbs, parmesan, egg, thyme and a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Mix with your hands for 1 minute and then roll into balls, a bit bigger than a golf ball.
Place a large fry pan over a high heat and when very hot add the oil.
Place the meatballs in the pan and brown them on all sides.
Then transfer these to the simmering sauce and gently stir through.
Cover the pot and simmer for another 15 minutes.
For the polenta, heat the milk and stock to scalding then slowly pour in the polenta, whisking constantly. Continue to cook over a medium heat, whisking, until the polenta has thickened then season with a little salt and pepper and continue to cook and whisk often over a low heat for 10 minutes, until the polenta is smooth and no longer grainy. Turn off the heat, whisk through the butter, parmesan, season to taste with salt and pepper then cover and keep hot.
To serve, place some polenta in the middle of a bowl. Spoon the meatballs on top of the polenta and cover with some sauce. Grate over some more parmesan, season with a little olive oil and pepper and some diced parsley.
This is such a hearty and heart-warming dish. Will definitely fill up those teenagers or suit a large dinner. Just make sure you have plenty of fresh bread on hand and someone else to help you fill up everyone’s wine glasses.