Sicilian Meatballs Al Forno


Sicilian Meatballs Al Forno

By Sonia Sultana  ,     ,

February 14, 2016

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Making meatballs from scratch is a great way of using under-loved, cheap cuts of meat, plus you know exactly what’s gone into them. I’ve kept the pasta simple to let those Sicilian flavours really sing.

  • Cook: 1 hr 10 mins
  • 1 hr 10 mins

    1 hr 10 mins

  • Yields: 6 Servings


50 g raisins

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

500 g lamb neck fillet and/or offcuts

50 g sun-dried tomatoes

½ a bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley

100 g fresh breadcrumbs

50 g pine nuts

1 lemon

1 teaspoon dried oregano

50 g Parmesan cheese

olive oil

120 g buffalo mozzarella

500 g dried spaghetti

extra virgin olive oil


1 small red onion

2 cloves of garlic

2 anchovy fillets , from sustainable sources

1 fresh red chilli

1 small dried chilli

2 x 400 g tins of chopped tomatoes

1 pinch of ground cinnamon

red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar , optional

½ a bunch of fresh basil


Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6.

Soak the raisins in the balsamic vinegar for 5 minutes.

Mince the lamb in a food processor, then place into a large bowl. Roughly chop and add the sun-dried tomatoes, then pick, finely chop and add most of the parsley leaves.

Add the breadcrumbs, pine nuts, lemon zest, soaked raisins and their juice, and oregano. Finely grate in half the Parmesan. Season, then mix together well.

With wet hands, roll and pat the mixture into 24 meatballs (the size of golf balls).

Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan over a high heat, then fry the meatballs for about 5 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Set aside.

For the arrabbiata sauce, peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Chop the anchovies, then deseed and finely chop the fresh chilli.

Heat a good lug of olive oil in a pan on a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, anchovies and chopped chilli. Crumble in the dried chilli, and gently fry for a few minutes, until soft.

Mix in the chopped tomatoes and cinnamon and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until reduced, stirring every so often.

Pour in a splash of red wine vinegar, season well, add the sugar if you think it tastes too sharp, and tear in most of the basil leaves.

Spoon the sauce into an ovenproof dish (25-30cm), then dot the meatballs on top. Tear over the mozzarella, sprinkle over the remaining basil leaves and finely grate the rest of the Parmesan on top.

Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions, then drain and toss with some extra virgin olive oil and the rest of the parsley. Serve the meatballs with the pasta – perfect with a nice crisp salad.


Nutrition Facts

Serving Size1
Total Fat19.4g
Saturated Fat7.5g
Total Carbohydrates44.9g

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