Courgette and pecorino meatballs

Sometimes cohabiting has made me learn far more about myself that I actually realised. One of the things I have learned is when I am determined to do something I eventually do it. So when D admitted to me that he used to regularly eat meatballs from a tin before he had me bossing him about. I was absolutely insistent that freshly made meatballs would blow his mind and I set about proving this, despite never having made a meatball in my life prior to our meeting last year.

These meatballs are the absolute one on days when you’re really hungry. It tastes fantastic and you prepare the meatballs a few hours before cooking them so they are perfect when you know you’re going to have a busy day. In an attempt to increase our vegetable intake I use a potato peeler to make fine pieces of courgette to cook with the spaghetti while it is cooking. If you want to make this recipe gluten free take the breadcrumbs out of the mix as well as one of the eggs and serve with rice.

To make your own meatballs and sauce you will need:

For the meatballs (Makes enough meatballs for 4 very hungry people, or 5 normal people)

750g mince (I used pork and beef mince)

1 slice stale bread

1 small onion (or half a larger one)

2 eggs

1 courgette

Salt and pepper

100g pecorino cheese, grated (Use parmesan or grana padano if you wish)

For the sauce (I froze half of our meatballs so the sauce serves 2-4)

1 small onion

1 clove garlic (add more if you wish)

500g passata

1 small glass red wine

Olive oil

1/2 teaspoon chilli powder

Salt and pepper

2 handfuls cherry tomatoes, halved

1 handful basil leaves

100g buffalo mozzarella

Place your mince in a large mixing bowl. Using a food processor blitz your bread until it forms breadcrumbs, Place this with the mince, pecorino and salt and pepper. Add your courgette, onion  and egg to the food processor and whizz up until the courgette and onion are finely chopped.

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Put the courgette mix into the bowl and use your hands to mix it all together evenly. Roll this mix into the meatballs, just over an inch in diameter and chill for several hours (or overnight). If you don’t want to cook all your meatballs this is the ideal point to freeze some of them.

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When you come to making the sauce; finely chop your onion and crush your garlic. Fry these over a low heat until soft. Add your meatballs and cook until all sides are lightly browned.

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To this add your passata, wine, chilli powder and salt and pepper. Cook over a gentle heat for around 10 minutes.


Add your cherry tomato halves and cook for another 5 minutes.


Break your mozzarella into the tomato sauce and top the whole thing with fresh basil. Allow the cheese to thoroughly melt into the tomato sauce and serve with spaghetti.

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Apparently serving meatballs with pasta is actually an Italian American thing rather than an Italian thing? Either ways it’s a comforting meal that we can both get on board with.

Oh and the tinned meatballs? Hopefully a thing of the past.


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