Chianti Baked Meatballs

Monday 25 July 2016

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I've been in the process of downsizing my book collection for a number of weeks now, this involves going through all of my books and making the agonizing (for me) decision of which ones to keep and which ones to give away.   The ones I give away go to the charity shop.  Of course most of them are cookery books . . .  and that makes it even more difficult to decide, and it takes a lot of effort on my part and yes, sacrifice.  I have decided though that if there are not more than one or two recipes in a book that I would actually cook, no matter how beautiful it is, it has to go.

In The Mood for Food, by Jo Pratt is a book I have had for several years.  I think we were living down in Brenchley when I got it.  I got to looking through it the other day and couldn't think why I hadn't been cooking from it, because it was chockerblock full of tasty recipes and healthy ones as well.  Spoilt for choice I guess!  I am just spoilt for choice!

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The recipe for Chianti Baked Meatballs just jumped out at me and I had to make it. It sounded very easy and very delicious and I had everything I needed in the house to make them, even the Chianti!  I thought I better use some of it before it turned into vinegar!  (We don't drink alcohol, but I do use it for cooking purposes.)

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There is very little fat in the recipe, just a bit of olive oil used to brown the meatballs in the oven.  In all truth I didn't use any at all.  Because the meatballs are baked in an oven proof skillet, I simply sprayed my skillet with a bit of low fat cooking spray.  It worked a treat.

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The sauce is very simple . . .  just tinned tomatoes and some seasoning and of course the chianti.  I always have tinned tomatoes in larder.   You know my favourite ones by now I am sure, but I'll remind you . . .

Cirio Chopped Tomatoes . . .  authentically Italian.   They are so good I could just eat them out of the tin with a spoon, and do from time to time.  (Don't judge me!)   In a recipe where the tomatoes are going to be one of the stars, you want really good ones, and these are the best!

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Trust me on this.   They are the best.   I had mine with some whole wheat spaghetti  . . .  the Toddster had his with potatoes, mash to be exact.   Everybody was happy.

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 Tender meatballs filled with lots of flavour and a bit of zip, in a simple and tasty sauce.   This was a winner/winner Meatball Dinner!

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*Chianti Baked Meatballs*
Serves 4
Hearty and delicious.  You can serve with whatever type of pasta you enjoy, or even mashed or roasted potatoes.  The sauce is fabulously tasty! 

For the meatballs:
500g lean steak mince (1 1/4 pounds extra lean ground beef)
1 medium onion, peeled and finely minced (in all truth I grate it, so there are no big chunks
which helps the meatballs stay together better)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
50g stoned black olives, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
50g soft bread crumbs (scant cup)
25g finely grated Parmesan cheese (3 TBS)
1 medium free range egg, beaten
1 tsp sweet paprika
1  finely chopped red chilli (or to taste)
2 to 3 TBS finely choped fresh parsley
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:
2 TBS olive oil
250ml Chianti wine (1 cup)
2 X 400g tins of chopped tomatoes in juice (14 ounce tins)
2 tsp caster sugar
a large handful of chopped basil.
Grated Parmesan to serve, optional  

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Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/ gas mark 7.   

Mix all of the meat ball ingredients together well.  Shape into balls using wet hands.  You will get about 12 large or 20 small.  Place the olive oil for the sauce into a large oven proof skillet.  Add the meatballs and turn to coat.    Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Pour over the Chianti, turning the meatballs to coat.  Return to the oven for 10 minutes longer.  Remove and stir in the chopped tomatoes, sugar and basil.   Return to the oven and roast for a further 20 to 25 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and thickened.  

Serve immediately with your favourite pasta or roasted potatoes and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

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Simple to make, easy, delicious and healthy. Works well for me!

Bon Appetit!


  1. I love the olives IN the meatballs..I add some in the sauce..will try..thanks Marie:)

    1. I hope you enjoy it Monique. Very simple and delicious, which always works for me! xo

  2. What a great twist on a classic dish. We had this for dinner tonight. It's been ages since I've made spaghetti and meatballs - so long in fact that I'd forgotten how delicious it is. It's beautiful, simple food and the flavours really shine if you use quality ingredients. We had ours with spaghetti and lashings of freshly grated parmesan cheese. A green salad completed the meal and it was lip smacking good. I can't ever recall putting chianti in my sauce, but it's a lovely, light but robust wine, so it balanced the tomatoes really well. I shall squirrel that away in my memory banks for using again.


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