For the tomato sauce:
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 700g passata
- 75ml dry red wine
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried red chilli flakes
- 1 mozzarella balls, sliced
- Salt & pepper
For the meatballs:
- 250g good quality minced beef
- 250g good quality minced pork
- 100g pancetta, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 60ml buttermilk
- 50g breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp dried oregano, chopped
- A small handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 large free range egg, lightly beaten
- 50g parmesan cheese, finely grated (keeping a little extra back)
- Salt & pepper
- Cooked spaghetti
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs. Season with salt and pepper and mix until completely and evenly combined.
- Form large golf ball sized meatballs by rolling them in your hands. Transfer to a large baking sheet. Keeping a small bowl of cold water for dipping your hands in after each meatballs will prevent things getting too sticky.
- Repeat with the remaining mixture, cover and leave in the fridge to firm up for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Place a large frying pan over a medium high heat and add a good glug of olive oil. If all the meatballs don’t fit in the pan at once, fry half the meatballs until browned on all sides, this will take 8-10 minutes, and then transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper. If doing two batches, wipe out the pan with kitchen paper, add another glug of oil and fry the remaining batch.
- Preheat the oven to 150˚C/300°F/Gas Mark 2. Drain any excess oil from the pan and place back on a low heat, add the garlic and slowly simmer until just golden but not browned.
- Pour in the passata and red wine and stir through. Season with dried oregano, chilli flakes, salt & pepper. Bring to a steady simmer and allow to cook for 5-6 minutes before adding the meatballs to the pan and gently turning to coat them in the sauce with a tablespoon. Cover the pan with a lid and transfer to the oven.
- Cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Towards the end of the cooking time, turn up the oven to 220°C/450°F/Gas Mark 8 and dot the meatballs with mozzarella and the remaining parmesan and return to the oven.
- Serve the baked meatballs with spaghetti cooked in a pot of well seasoned boiling water until al dente and sprinkle generously with grated Parmesan cheese.