- 4 T extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 500 g lean beef mince
- 250 g ricotta cheese
- 50 g breadcrumbs
- 1 free-range egg
- Zest of ½ lemon
- 3 t ground fennel seeds
- ½ t freshly ground black pepper
- 2 t sea salt
- 30 g flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 10 large fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
- ¾ cup canola oil
- Crusty ciabatta, for serving
- Chianti, for serving
- For the Napoletana sauce:
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
- 1 sweet red pepper, very finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 litre tomato purée (I like using the POMI brand)
- Sea salt, to taste
- ½ t black pepper
- 15 large fresh basil leaves, chopped
In a pan over a medium to low heat, heat the olive oil and gently fry the onion until soft and golden. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Transfer to a mixing bowl and allow to cool.
Add the remaining ingredients (except the canola oil, ciabatta and Chianti) to the oniongarlic mixture and mix well by hand. Chill for 1 hour, then, using your hands, roll into 50 g balls.
In a large pan over a medium heat, heat the canola oil and, when hot, fry the meatballs (taking mcare not to overcrowd the pan) until evenly browned.
Transfer the meatballs to a saucepan containing 1.2 litres of gently simmering Napoletana sauce and cook for 12 minutes. Serve immediately with ciabatta and a glass of Chianti.
To make the Napoletana sauce: In a saucepan over a medium to low heat, heat the olive oil and gently fry the onion and red pepper until soft and lightly browned.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato purée and seasoning and simmer gently for 20 minutes, covered but stirring occasionally. Finally, stir through the basil and remove from the heat.
Giovanni’s notes: This recipe also makes a delicious sauce for freshly cooked penne or spaghetti served with grated Parmesan. The meatballs can be made into 10 g little balls and served with spaghetti. The kids love it.