Best Italian Meatball Recipe

The few simple secrets for the best Italian meatball recipe: dress up minced beef with fresh herbs and a tasty tomato sauce...

Ingredients for 4:

750 g/1 ½ lb lean minced beef

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 spring onion, very finely chopped

45 ml/3 tbsp chopped fresh basil

45 ml/2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

40 g/1 ½ oz/3 tbsp butter

For the tomato sauce

45 ml/3 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

300 g/11 oz tomatoes, chopped

A few leaves fresh basil

45-60 ml/3-4 tbsp water

5 ml/1 tsp sugar

15 ml/1 tbsp white wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


To make the tomato sauce, heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onion gently until translucent. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the basil, cover the pan, and cook for 7-8 minutes over moderate heat.

Add the water, sugar and vinegar, and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly, and pass the sauce through a food mill or strainer. Check the seasoning.

Combine the meat with the garlic, spring onion and herbs in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Form into 4 burgers, patting the meat as lightly as possible.

Heat the butter in a frying pan. When the foam subsides add the burgers, and cook over moderate heat until brown on the underside. Turn the burgers over, and continue cooking until done. Remove to a warmed plate.

Tilt the frying pan, and spoon off any surface fat. Pour in the sauce, raise the heat and bring to a boil, scraping up the meat residue from the bottom of the pan. Serve with the burgers.

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