Love, love, love Italian food!  The classic flavours of basil and rich, winey  tomato sauce complimented this mega-meatball oozing with bocconcini that was proudly sitting on a bed of parmesan infused polenta.   Fa niente di meglio?……… Splendido!

Prep time:  20  Minutes               Cooking time:  40 Minutes                $  Low Budget

Serves 4-8  (I have 3 big men in my family who had 2 each, I only had 1…….hence 4-8!)*

Olive oil for frying

500gm of beef mince

500gm of veal mince

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 tsp of dried oregano

1 tsp of chilli flakes

2 tbs of tomato paste

2 tbs of chopped fresh parsley

2/3 cup of bread crumbs

1 egg, lightly whisked

Sea salt and cracked pepper

8 baby bocconcini

For the Sauce:

Olive oil for frying

2 cloves of garlic, finely minced

1/2 cup of dry white wine

700gm jar of tomato passata

1 tbs of tomato paste

1/2 tsp of sugar

Sea salt and pepper

1 cup of fresh basil leaves, finely shredded (at the last minute) to serve

Freshly grated parmesan to serve

For the Polenta:

500ml of low sodium chicken stock

125gm of instant polenta

1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese

20gm of butter

Sea salt and pepper

In a large mixing bowl combine the mince, garlic, oregano, chilli flakes, egg, tomato paste, breadcrumbs, sea salt and pepper and mix well with your hands to combine.  Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions and roll each one between your slightly damp hands until smooth.  Hold the large meatball in your palm, make a large indentation in the centre of the ball with your thumb and place a baby bocconcini in the hole.  Smooth the hole over with your thumb and then roll the meatball between your palms until really smooth so that there are no visible cracks or holes.  Place the balls on a lined tray and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.

Heat a large frypan and add a little olive oil.  Lightly fry the meatballs on both sides, flattening very slightly with a spatula so they have a flat surface to stop them rolling around.  Don’t flatten them too much as you will split them and the cheese will ooze out.  When golden on both sides, place the meatballs back on the tray and set aside while you make the sauce.

In the same pan, add a little more olive oil and fry the garlic for 30 seconds or until aromatic.  Add the wine and allow to reduce for a few minutes before adding the passata, sugar, and tomato paste.  Season lightly and stir to combine.  Bring the sauce to a simmer and place the meatballs gently back into the sauce.  Pop a lid on and allow them to cook for approximately 20 minutes, turning over gently on the 10 minute mark.

To make the polenta bring the stock to a simmer in a medium sized saucepan.  Once simmering, pour the polenta in, in a thin steady stream and whisk at the same time.  Continue to whisk for a minute or so until it is combined and thickened.  If it looks a little too thick just add a little water until it thins out but continue to whisk.  Add the butter and parmesan cheese, season lightly and stir to combine.

To plate up, divide the polenta between four serving plates and top each one with one or two meatballs.  Spoon over the sauce and sprinkle over the finely shredded basil and freshly grated parmesan.  Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and serve with steamed greens or a crisp green salad.

*  If you have leftover meatballs they will freeze really well.