Power by dinner4good.com

Time to cook: About 3 hours

MAIN: Meatballs

Perfect for a delicious and tasty supper... or a lunchtime feast, bundling the meatballs into a wrap or panini. If you like spicy food we’ve given the option of adding chilli, but if you’re not sure how spicy your guests like their food, it’s just as good without. A special suggestion from The Muscle Help Foundation, in support of its Meatballs4MuscleDreams fundraiser, is to add the zest of half a lemon to add a distinctive flavour.


Serves 4-6


  • 450g lean minced beef
  • 50g pancetta or bacon, chopped
  • 1 small red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • Half small red chilli to taste, chopped (optional)
  • Zest of half a lemon (optional)
  • 35g breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 2 tablespoon flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning


  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped or crushed
  • Half small red chilli to taste, chopped (optional)
  • 2 x 390g tin tomatoes
  • 200 ml red wine
  • Splash of Worcestershire sauce

To serve

  • Creme fraiche
  • Fresh parsley or basil to garnish


Start preparing about 3 hours before serving. You’ll need a large roasting tin and a large casserole dish.

  1. Preheat the oven to 200oC / gas mark 6.
  2. Make the meatballs by mixing the beef, pancetta /bacon, red pepper, garlic, fresh parsley and chilli / lemon (if you’re using them) in a large bowl. Add the egg (you may not need all of it) and mix thoroughly with your hands so that all the ingredients are bound together.
  3. Put the flour in a small bowl and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Roll the meatball mixture into balls (each about 4cm in diameter) and then roll each ball in the flour mixture so that they’re lightly coated. Place into the roasting tin and cook in the pre-heated oven for about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the meatballs from the oven and put to one side. Turn the oven down to 170oC / gas mark 3.
  6. While the meatballs are cooking, fry the onions gently until translucent and then add the pepper, garlic and chilli (if you’re using it) and fry gently for a few more minutes.
  7. Add the tomatoes and wine and bring to a simmer.
  8. Then, combine the meatballs with the sauce in the casserole dish and stir gently so that the meatballs are covered with sauce. It may seem like a lot of liquid but it will reduce during cooking. Cover and cook in the oven for at least 2 hours, checking a couple of times to turn the meatballs in the sauce.

Serve with...

A spoonful of creme fraiche and a sprinkling of fresh herbs over the meatballs, along with your favourite carbohydrate... mashed potato, pasta, rice or even some crusty bread. For a healthy side dish, serve some green veg – courgettes go well or a green side salad.



Recipe author: The Dinner4Good Team

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