Nigella Lawson’s meatballs

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Learn how to make meatballs at home with this easy recipe from Nigella Lawson’s new Italian show Nigellissima. The rich tomato sauce is the perfect accompaniment to these tasty bites

  • Serves: 4

  • Prep time: 10 mins

  • Cooking time: 35 mins

  • Total time: 45 mins

  • Skill level: Easy peasy

  • Costs: Cheap as chips

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Nigella says: ‘Don’t worry if you can’t get Italian sausages easily; I gave this recipe to an Italian friend of mine (who lives in London) and she – ironically – chooses to fashion hers out of everyday English Porkinsons. And if that’s good enough for her. . .’

Ingredients

  • 450–500g Italian sausages
  • 2 x 15ml tbsp garlic oil
  • 4 fat or 6 spindly spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • 60ml white wine or vermouth
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes, plus water to rinse 1⁄2 can
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • chopped fresh parsley, to serve (optional)

Method

  1. Squeeze the sausage meat from the sausages and roll small cherry-tomato-sized meatballs out of it, putting them onto a clingfilm-lined baking tray as you go. Your final tally should be around 40.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pan or flameproof casserole and add the meatballs, frying them until golden; as they become firmer, nudge them up in the pan to make room for the rest, if you can’t fit them all in at first.
  3. When all the meatballs are in the pan and browned, add the spring onion and oregano and stir about gently.
  4. Add the wine or vermouth and chopped tomatoes, then fill half of one of the empty cans with cold water and tip it into the other empty can, then into the pan. The can-to-can technique is just my way of making sure you swill out as much of the tomato residue as possible.
  5. Pop in the bay leaves and let the pan come to a fast simmer. Leave to cook like this, uncovered, for 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly and the meatballs are cooked through. Check the sauce for seasoning, adding some salt and pepper, if you like.
  6. During this time you can cook whatever you fancy to go with the meatballs, whether it be pasta, rice, whatever.
  7. Once the meatballs are ready, you can eat them immediately or let them stand, off the heat but still on the stove, for 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken up a bit on standing.
  8. Should your diners be other than children who baulk at green bits, sprinkle with parsley on serving.

By Recipe taken from Nigellissima: Instant Italian Inspiration by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus, £26)

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Nutritional information

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.

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