Like a Bat out of Hell…

My “can do” list of fabulous food would not be complete without my meatball recipe which I have perfected over several years. It was originally inspired by Jamie Oliver’s Meatball recipe from his original book The Naked Chef. But after years of tweaking and developing on the job I have made several additions (see below). This dish can take you from lunch to dinner or a late late supper. And according to the boys in our house they are great as leftovers in a sub.

Jamie Oliver’s Meatballs  
 Jamie Oliver (The Naked Chef, 1999. pg. 133)


900g mince meat (I use up to 2kg if I am cooking for a crowd)
2 slices of bread ( leftover rice or cous cous also works well)
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, pounded    I
1/2 small dried red chilli                    
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 egg yolk (or whole egg – I use 2 if using 2kg meat)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil ( I don’t use this!)
1 tomato sauce recipe 
 (see Jamie Oliver’s Basic Tomato Sauce or use quality shop bought passata)
2 handfuls fresh basil, torn
60g mozzarella cheese
60g parmesan cheese
1 onion, finely grated
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1 tablespoon olive oil 

I find the saviour of my version is that I load it up with grated veggies – carrot, zucchini, mushrooms, capsicum. This way the kids are getting added value for every mouthful!


Use a food processor to turn the slices of bread into bread crumbs. Process veggies as well.
Add the breadcrumbs to the dried oregano, cumin, chilli, rosemary and egg yolk to the minced meat, and season with two level teaspoons salt, and a good twist of black pepper. And a good dash of sweet chilli sauce.

At this stage add your optional ingredients. Mix well and, with wet hands, roll and pat into meatballs the size and shape you want. 
Now this is the bit you are going to want to read. I don’t cook the meatballs first or brown them. I know the die hard chefs out there will be groaning at my lack of technique but honestly, you do not need this step. I grease a large ceramic casserole dish and arrange the meatballs evenly. I then use a quality shop bought tomato passatta to pour over the meatballs. Top with grated cheeses and cook in the oven at 200 c for 45 mins until golden brown. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve with spaghetti.

If you are following Jamie’s Recipe it continues below.
(Preheat a thick-bottomed casserole pan to a very hot temperature, add 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil, swirl around the bottom of the pan and add the meatballs. Fry them until they are brown all over, being careful not to break them up.Turn the heat down, and cover with the tomato, load of ripped up fresh basil, and a little broken up mozzarella and grated parmesan. Cook in the oven at 200c for about 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is golden.)