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Recipe: The Best Meatballs


On a quick trip to our family friend’s cottage this August, we ate like queens. (Thanks, Mom, for cooking ahead!) Even with a group of veggie loving women and kid – this meatball recipe had everyone moaning with joy. Like the Chicken Marbella recipe, this recipe is from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Simple – and it is!

Even more, this recipe turns one package of ground beef into So. Much. Delicious. Nutrient-dense. Food.


  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 C oregano leaves, chopped
  • 3-5 chopped tomatoes or 1 can
  • 2 C chicken stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 C breadcrumbs (3-4 slices, crusts removed)
  • 9 oz/250g ricotta
  • 2 1/4 oz/60g Parmesan, grated
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 C parsley, chopped


Tomato sauce

  1. Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a sauté pan and place over medium-high heat. Add half the onions, half the garlic, and half the oregano and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring. Add the tomatoes and their juice, half the stock, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and some black pepper. Decrease the temperature to medium and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, to thicken the sauce.


  1. Meanwhile, make the meatballs. Place the remaining onion, garlic and oregano in a large bowl along with the beef, breadcrumbs, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, parsley, 3/4 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Using your hands, mix everything together and shape into 12-14 (or more!) balls.
  2. Put 1 tablespoon of the oil into a large frying pan and, when hot, add the meatballs. You will need to do this in at least two batches, adding more oil for each batch. Sear for 8 minutes, turning throughout, then transfer to a separate plate.
  3. Gently lower the meatballs into the sauce and pour over enough of the remaining stock so that the meatballs are almost covered. Add a little water, if needed, to make up the liquid. Place over medium-low heat and simmer very gently, covered, for 30 minutes. 
  4. To thicken the sauce, remove the lid toward the end of cooking and increase the temperature a little. You want to end up with the consistency of a thick pasta sauce.
  5. Remove from the heat and set aside for at least 10 minutes. Add extra oregano and serve!

I dare you to save some for leftovers 🙂

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