I love the comforting warmth of a slow-cooked ragu but if you are time poor (as I often am), it’s fine to use a good-quality bought tomato sauce instead of making your own. This version is decidedly lighter than the hearty stews a discerning nonna would make, but it has all the flavour you’d expect and more. I love serving this for Sunday lunch with friends, or for a nourishing weeknight dinner.
Meatballs With Ragu And Zoodles
Serves: 4 people
Prep: 60 mins
- 1 kg tomatoes, halved
- 11/2 tablespoons extra virgin
- olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 brown onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 1 celery stalk
- finely diced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon finely
- chopped thyme leaves
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano leaves,
- 1/4 bunch basil
- leaves picked
- 4 zucchini spiralised
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper
- 400 g turkey mince
- 400 g chicken thigh mince (it’s important you use thigh meat as it stops the meatballs from drying out)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped oregano leaves
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf, parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons pitted green olives chopped
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 3 tablespoons grated parmesan
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons rice breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan-forced) and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
- Spread out the tomatoes on the prepared tray and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes or until soft and collapsed. Allow to cool slightly, then purée until smooth.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery and cook for a few minutes or until softened.
- Stir in the tomato paste and thyme. Add the stock, oregano, most of the basil (leaving a few leaves to garnish), and the puréed tomato and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, to make the meatballs, combine the turkey and chicken mince, oregano, parsley, olives, garlic and parmesan in a bowl. Add the egg and then the rice breadcrumbs, ensuring everything is evenly mixed.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced) and line a baking tray with baking paper. Roll the mince mixture into golf ball–sized balls and place on the prepared tray. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Place the meatballs in the oven and reduce the temperature to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Bake for 10 minutes or until cooked through.
- Meanwhile, briefly blanch the zoodles until tender.
- Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar. Stir through the meatballs and season to taste.
- Divide the zoodles among four bowls and serve with the meatballs and ragu on top.