These easy sausage meatballs came about because I like to make a pasta dish about once a week but I need to vary it so that it doesn’t become boring. I would be quite happy with a plain tomato sauce but I live with a meat lover so I wouldn’t get away with it too often.
Once you know how to make a basic tomato sauce it is easy to change it up. I often fry some chorizo before cooking it in a sauce, or use bacon and lots of chilli. This dish is no more difficult than squeezing out sausage meat from its casing or even just buying good quality sausage meat from your butcher and adding some herbs and seasoning. If you buy good quality Italian sausages you may not even have to add any extra flavours. Make sure your sausages contain at least 70% pork.
This meal can be ready in under 30 minutes so it is ideal for a quick evening meal. The sauce also freezes perfectly.
- 350-400g of good quality sausage meat, approx. 6 large sausages
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 tsp of dried oregano
- ½ tsp of fennel seeds
- ½ a small red onion, very finely chopped
- 75ml of dry white wine
- 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- Salt and Pepper
- A pinch of sugar
- 1 tbsp. of balsamic or red wine vinegar
- ½ tsp of dried red chilli flakes (optional)
- Fresh Parmesan cheese
- Squeeze the sausage meat from the casing into a large bowl. Add the garlic, oregano, and fennel seeds and mix it well together.
- Heat a little oil in a wide large saucepan or shallow casserole dish over a medium-high heat and fry a little bit of the mixture to check for seasoning. Most sausage meat is well seasoned so you may not need to add any salt or pepper.
- When you are happy with the flavour roll the rest of the meat mixture in little balls, whatever size you like. I go for slightly smaller than a golf ball and get 12 meatballs that way.
- In the wide pan heat a little more olive oil and fry the meatballs until browned, turning them to brown all over. They will finish cooking in the sauce.
- Add the finely diced onion while the meatballs are browning. When the onions have softened, pour in the white wine to deglaze the pan. This will pick up all the little browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan which will add loads of flavour to the sauce. Allow the wine to reduce by half and burn off the alcohol.
- Pour in the tin of chopped tomatoes, some salt and pepper, a pinch of sugar, the vinegar and the chilli flakes if you are using them. Allow it to come to a gentle boil and reduce the heat immediately to a simmer.
- Simmer the sauce, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened and reduced slightly. Taste it and check for seasoning. You can add a little more dried oregano if you like.
- Cook your chosen pasta as per packet instructions. Serve with 3-4 meatballs and some sauce spooned over. Grate some fresh parmesan on top and serve immediately.