Recipe for Ricotta and Oregano Meatballs – serve with your favourite pasta!

Ingredients
30ml (2 tablespoons) olive oil
2 white onions, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
several sprigs oregano, leaves roughly chopped
30ml (2 tablespoons) tomato paste
80ml (1/3 cup) red wine
400g tin chopped tomatoes
600ml chicken stock
500g free-range beef mince (lean)
100g fresh brown breadcrumbs (about 2 thick slices)
250g ricotta
60g parmesan, grated
1 egg plus 1 yolk, lightly whisked together
several stems flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper

How to
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan and sauté the onion until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Remove half the onion and set aside for the meatballs.

Add the garlic and oregano to the onions in the pan and cook for another minute or two, then add the tomato paste and stir through. Pour in the wine and reduce by half.

Add the chopped tomatoes and half the stock. Season lightly with salt and pepper, cover partially and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

For the meatballs, combine the beef, breadcrumbs, ricotta, parmesan and reserved onions in a mixing bowl. Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Add the egg mixture and parsley and mix together by hand. Shape into evenly sized balls. You’ll get about 18 per batch.

Heat the remaining oil in a non-stick pan. Brown the meatballs on both sides, turning gently with a spoon. Place the meatballs in the tomato sauce, add the remaining stock, cover and simmer until the sauce is thickened and the meat, cooked through, about 25-30 minutes.

For the crispy oregano: Heat 20ml olive oil in a pan and fry 3-4 sprigs oregano until crisp. Scatter the oregano over the meatballs and drizzle the pan oils over, too.

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Recipe provided by Bibby’s Kitchen @ 36, a food blog by Dianne Bibby. For more details on monthly cooking classes hosted in Johannesburg, email [email protected].