It’s official, we are in the hottest September in 55 years! (Please forgive me, I wrote this last week when we were still in 35 degree heat!) That means there’s still plenty of time left in the year for garden dining. I’ve teamed up with Polkadot Parsley to bring you some delicious recipes for you to enjoy using their beautiful oven dishes.
For this week’s recipe I’ve gone back to my parents so that my lovely mum can teach me a family favourite. If you’ve read the blog before then your’ll know that Italy and I are like 2 peas in a pod, because lets face it, Italians know good food.. and mamma mia does my mum know how to cook!
To make the sauce you will need:
- 4 medium courgettes, chopped
- 2 onions, chopped
- 4 sticks of celery, washed and chopped
- 500g tomato Passata
- 25g capers, rinsed well
- 10 pitted olives
- 2 teaspoons of caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- a few basil leaves for garnish
Start by heating the olive oil in a heavy based pan and then add the chopped onions and celery. Cook over a low heat until soft.
Then, add the tomato passata, capers, chopped courgettes, sugar and vinegar. Cook for a further 5 minutes until the sharpness of the vinegar evaporates.
Allow to simmer gently whilst you prepare the meatballs.
To make 15-18 medium sized meatballs you will need:
- 50g fresh breadcrumbs
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 50g toasted pine nuts
- One large bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 500g lean minced beef
- 50g Parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 eggs
- Salt and pepper
Dry fry the pine nuts and allow to cool before roughly chopping.
Now comes the fun part…put the minced beef into a large bowl and then add the breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, pine nuts and grated Parmesan cheese.
Then add the egg to the mixture with some salt and pepper. Using your hands, blend the mixture thoroughly together.
Once the mixture is all bound together, split into even amounts, then shape the mixture into balls and slightly flatten. Place onto a baking sheet and sprinkle over some plain flour.
TOP TIP: If you are not going to use all the meatballs you’ve made, then lay the extras on a baking tray and freeze until solid. Then you can pack them into a freezer bag ready for the next time. Always remember to defrost thoroughly in the fridge.
By now the vegetable mix will have softened. Take it off the heat and stir in the olives. Poor this yummy mixture into yourPolkadot Parsley dish in anticipation for your meatballs.
Take a clean flying pan and heat some olive oil. Fry the meatballs on both sides for a few minutes until brown.
Drain on some kitchen paper before arranging them on top of your vegetable mix.
Cook in a pre heated oven at 160 degrees for about 30-45 mins.
When you’re ready to serve, grate some Parmesan over the top and pick a few fresh basil leaves to scatter over. This dish is lovely on it’s own but also goes well with pasta or some crusty bread.
Then tuck in quick before someone else get their paws on it…
To buy your very own Polkadot Parsley oven dish click here.