Chelsea Winters – Mamma Mia Meatball Bake
500g beef mince
500g pork mince
1 onion, minced
½ cup finely minced parsley
½ cup dried breadcrumbs (or use rolled oats or process crackers to a fine crumb)
3 tbsp tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp salt
½ tsp finely ground white or black pepper
extra virgin olive oil, for frying
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes in puree
1 punnet ripe cherry tomatoes (optional)
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dried oregano
3 tsp sugar
½ tsp fennel seeds (optional)
pinch chilli flakes
1 cup mozzarella chunks
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
chopped parsley or fresh basil to serve (optional)
Place all the meatball ingredients except the oil in a large mixing bowl. Use clean hands to scrunch and mix until combined. Shape into quite large meatballs – about the size of a small apple. Set aside.
Combine the canned tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, tomato paste, rosemary, garlic, vinegar, oregano, sugar, fennel seeds and chilli flakes in a very large baking dish. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. When hot, add half the meatballs and cook to brown all over. Transfer to the baking dish so they are sitting nestled in the sauce, and repeat with the remaining meatballs. At this point you can cover and refrigerate until needed.
Preheat the oven to 180c regular bake (160c fan bake)
Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, turning the meatballs once during cooking. Remove the dish, increase the temperature to 200c, sprinkle the chunks of mozzarella and grated parmesan on top, and return to the oven for 10 minutes to melt the cheese.
Serve with pasta, rice, potatoes, polenta or couscous and steamed greens on the side. Sprinkle with chopped parsley or torn fresh basil leaves if you like.