Meat balls in Tomato Sauce

I went to a really fancy restaurant once with my sister, we ordered different foods off the menu. I remember the waiter bringing the food and us being confused as to which belonged to whom. We kept on swapping the food but it made no difference because however way we turned it, the food was horrible. We ended up puking our guts out in the hotel bathroom. Afterwards we were given a list by my favorite cousin on what not to eat at various restaurants. It seems funny now because we had pasta and meatball, not a complicated dish to mess up but I guess the chef was cooking for a more ‘refined palette’ .



what you need

Meat balls

500g ground beef

2 tablespoon coriander, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

2 garlic cloves, finely diced

1/2 cup grated mozzarella

1/2 cup milk

1 egg, beaten

90g/ 1 1/2 cup bread, crust removed

3 chilies 🌶, seeds removed and finely chopped

1/3 cup sunflower oil

Tomato Sauce

*800g tomato purée (see note)

5 large chilies 🌶 , seeds removes (adjust)

1 small onion

1 medium onion chopped

2 garlic cloves roughly chopped

3 bay-leaf

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary

6 basil leaves

1 teaspoon ground black pepper


Note: For the sauce, In the absence of the canned tomato purée you can make your own. Put fresh tomatoes in boiling water, after 1 min remove and put into cold water. This will make peeling the skin very easy. Once the skin is peeled, remove the seeds and blend together with the chili and the small onion, you need about 3 - 3 1/2 cups; otherwise just blend the chili and the onion is a small amount of water to form a paste.


For the meatballs, tear the bead into chunks and soak in milk. Meanwhile sautée the onion, garlic, thyme, chili and black pepper in a bit of olive/veg oil until the onion is soft. Combine the ground beef, soaked crumbs, mozzarella and the whisked egg. Add a generous amount of salt and mix until fully combined. Put in a freezer for 10 - 15mins. It makes rolling it into balls very easy. You can skip this step if you don't really care about the shape. Fry the meat balls in sunflower oil just until all the sides turn golden brown the set aside for later. Don’t discard oil.

Pour the oil used to fry meat into a saucepan. Once hot add the diced onion, chopped garlic and fresh rosemary. Sautée until the onion is soft then add the tomato + garlic & onion puree. Stir, add salt and bayleaf. Add the ground black pepper. Taste and adjust salt. Cook until it reduces by 1/4 or thickens lightly then add the meatballs. add the basil and reduce heat. Let sauce simmer, occasionally gently turn the meatballs so all sides can cook evenly. Taste and adjust salt. When the tomato sauce is thick enough for you, turn off heat.

  • Because mainly fresh naturally sweet ingredients are being used there's no need for extra seasoning. However if your sauce is sour because of your tomatoes, add a pinch of baking soda. It'll drive out the sourness.

Serve with pasta. Toss the cooked pasta in the sauce and top it with grated cheddar or any cheese of your choice otherwise steamed rice works wonderfully too.