This is probably one of the easiest recipes in the world, yet one of the most wonderful dishes I ever made. So colourful and tasteful, it really reminds me of my childhood.

Serve it with baked or boiled new potatoes, parmesan cheese and a bunch of fresh herbs to feel the taste of summer.

Ingredients for the tomato sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed)
  • 1 celery stick (finely chopped)
  • 500g can tomato passata
  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 big handful freshly chopped basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for the meatballs

  • 2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
  • 600g minced beef
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed)
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (be generous)

To serve

  • 500g new potatoes (no need to peel them)
  • Zest of a half unwaxed lemon
  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • Handful freshly chopped basil
  • Grated Parmesan cheese


Heat two tablespoons of oil in a heavy stainless steel pan and add the onion and garlic. Fry it until soft and a little golden. Allow it to cool.

In a bowl, mix the minced beef and uncooked rice with the cooled onion and garlic. Add a beaten egg and season with salt and butter.

With your wet hands, divide the mixture into small round balls and leave them in the fridge for 15 minutes.

For the sauce, heat two tablespoons of oil in a pan and then fry the onion, garlic and celery until soft.

Add the canned tomato passata and a can of water (use the tomato’s now empty can), season with salt, pepper and brown sugar.

Cook the sauce for 15 minutes, then gently place the little meatballs into the sauce. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until the meatballs cook through. (After 15 minutes take one meatball out and cut it in half to see is it cooked through or not.)

Add a bunch of fresh basil and some more freshly grated black pepper.

In the meantime, wash and cook the new potatoes in boiling water. Drain, and cut them into small cubes. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and some lemon zest. Serve it on the side of the meatballs with loads of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

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