A real classic from my family and a staple in every Italian family’s cooking repertoire. The real secret for this recipe is in the time you take to slowly cook the meatballs in the tomato sauce. Be patient and you will definitely be rewarded.
3 x 400 g of good-quality tinned chopped tomatoes
1 onion, finely chopped
4-5 basil leaves
½ teaspoon of sugar
250 g minced beef
250 g minced pork
50 g of home-made breadcrumbs
50 g of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
50 ml of milk
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Black pepper, freshly ground
3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
Place a stainless steel saucepan over a gentle heat, add the extra-virgin olive oil, the chopped onion and one minced clove of garlic. Cover and sweat for a couple of minutes, until soft and translucent.
Add the chopped tomatoes, sugar and basil leaves. Put the lid on and leave it to cook on a medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a large bowl, mix together the beef, pork, eggs, breadcrumbs, Parmigiano Reggiano, milk, one clove of garlic finely minced and the chopped parsley.
Add a good pinch of salt and pepper, mix well with your hands and shape into small meatballs (slightly bigger than a cherry – not resembling a golf ball – would be the ideal size). Transfer them to the tomato sauce and season with some salt.
Turn the heat down to low, leave the lid on the pan and cook for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Serve them with some spaghetti or with lots of freshly baked bread using it to mop up the wonderful sauce on your plate – too good to leave behind – and enjoy what in Italian is “fare la scarpetta”.