Meatballs are loved by all meat eaters, at least all the ones I know. I think it is because they are unfailingly tender, or should be, have no bones or gristle, and they’re as tasty as you care to make them.
You can do lots with them, too. You can serve these ones on pasta, or with jacket-baked potatoes, or tucked in a lasagne. Or just on their own, loaded onto crusty bread and topped with flakes of parmesan. Balls. Can’t beat them!
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp chopped rosemary
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
Pinch dried chilli flakes, or 1 small bird’s eye chilli, crushed
2 x 400g (14 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
¼ cup water
½ tsp salt, or to taste
450g (about 1 pound) premium seasoned sausage meat (I used L’Authentique Pork & Fennel French Grind made from free-farmed NZ pork shoulder; choose something similar that is all sausage meat and not fillers)
Chopped parsley and flaked parmesan cheese for serving, optional
1 Put oil, rosemary, garlic and chilli in a medium-sized saucepan. Set pan over medium heat and cook briefly, just until the garlic turns a pale biscuit colour. Add tomatoes carefully (they can splutter), then the water, stir, bring to a gentle bubble, then lower the heat. Add salt and cook, uncovered, for 25 minutes.
2 Break sausage meat into small balls the size of small marbles (if the meat is sticky, wet your hands with water), and roll into balls. Transfer to a tray as they are done and keep refrigerated until the sauce is ready.
3 Mash sauce gently with a potato masher until most of the large lumps are gone and the sauce is thick and pulpy. Add balls to pan and shake the pan to cover balls with sauce. Partially cover pan with a lid and cook gently, shaking the pan occasionally, for 15 minutes, until the balls are just cooked through. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.