This dish involves a bit of creative meatball rolling, but the final product is so delicious that it’s well worth getting your hands dirty. Once the prep is done, just pop it in the oven and chill out (or clean up) while it cooks. You can cook this dish all on the stove, but the time in the oven gives it the perfect finishing cheesy textures and flavours. For the ultimate nutrient hit, grate 3–4 tablespoons of frozen chicken liver into the mince – no one will ever know it’s there.
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
For the meatballs:
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
500 g minced beef or lamb
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 egg, whisked
2 tbsp almond meal
For the sauce:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 carrot, grated
400 g can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ cup grated cheese of your choice (mozzarella, cheddar, Colby, etc., or a mix)
A few sprigs of basil leaves, roughly torn
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C fan (200°C regular).
Place all the meatball ingredients in a mixing bowl. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and mix well with your hands (or a spoon). Shape the mix into about 16 meatballs and place in the fridge until needed.
Heat the oil in a large oven-proof frying pan or stovetop-safe casserole over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes until beginning to soften. Add the garlic, carrots and tomatoes. Stir to mix, bring up to the boil and add the vinegar.
Remove the meatballs from the fridge and carefully place them into the sauce. Transfer to the oven and cook for 10 minutes.
Carefully remove from the oven and sprinkle over the cheese, then return to the oven to cook for another 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted and is starting to brown.
To serve, divide your vegetable side between bowls. Top with the meatballs and sauce, sprinkle with basil and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil just before serving.
Text from What the Fat? Recipes by Professor Grant Schofield, Dr Caryn Zinn and Craig Rodger, photography by Todd Eyre, Murdoch Books RRP $35.