3 hour meatballs

Ok, last recipe for the week. Promise. Now technically the name for this recipe is Italian meatballs. But I’m calling these 3 hours meatballs because that is how long you need to set aside to make these babies. Definitely a weekend meal but so worth it. I can honestly say that this was the best pasta sauce I’ve ever had and if I had an italian nonna (and I don’t! I have a scottish grandma and an australian nana) then I’m sure she’d be proud. All the kids including elodie loved these, retro daddy just liked them and I adored them and couldn’t stop eating them. The other great thing about this recipe is that I got 2 dinners out of it. We ate ours with salad and crusty bread and the next night I reheated the sauce, added some grated cheese and mixed in spaghetti. So good.

start of the meatball sauce

This recipe comes from Monday Morning Cooking Club but I made some changes because I thought 5 onions in one dish was a bit too much!!!!!


1kg mince

1 onion, finely chopped

2 eggs, beaten

2 slices bread made into breadcrumbs

1/4 cup water

1 bunch flat leaf parsley (or use whatever herb you have going, basil would be delicious)


about 17 roma/plum tomatoes (make sure they’re ripe)
10 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 1/2 cups white wine (optional, replace with stock if you prefer)
3 cups stock ( I used chicken)

OK, first we’re going to make the sauce. Wash and halve the tomatoes and lay cut side up in a roasting dish, add in the peeled garlic cloves, pour over 1/4 cup olive oil, season well with salt and pepper and roast in 160 degree oven for 1 hours. I moved my tomatoes around a couple of times during the hour to make sure they were all cooking.


the slow roasted tomatoes + garlic

Now in a large bowl combine your mince, parsley, onion and eggs. Make the breadcrumbs from bread and soak in the water for a few minutes. Add into mince mixture, season well and set aside while you make the sauce.

the meatball mix

In a large saucepan cook the coarsely chopped onion in olive oil until soft. Add in the raoasted tomatoes and garlic. Add in wine and bring to boil for about 5 minutes. Add in the stock then simmer for 1 hour. Now puree your sauce with a hand stick blender or food processor. I did mine in 2 batches in the thermomix on speed 5 until completely pureed. Return the pureed sauce back to the saucepan, bring to the boil again and then simmer for 10 minutes. You want to stir it a few times. Season really well (trust me you can’t stop eating the sauce by this time).

the sauce is cooked - 2 hours later

Now your sauce is ready for meatballs. So wet your hands and roll your mince into little meatballs about the size of a walnut. You don’t want them too big. Drop them into the tomato sauce (carefully!) and bring the sauce back to the boil. Now cover the saucepan and simmer for about 30 minutes. Check that the meatballs are cooked through and serve with salad and crusty bread or spaghetti with lots of cheese.

3 hour meatballs

And this is what you end up. Very delicious homemade meatballs in a rich tomato sauce. I loved it with a simple salad and the crusty bread. The bread soaking up all that delicious sauce is to die for and is my preferred way to eat it whereas the kids preferred theirs with pasta. Either way I promise that you will not be disappointed and I’ll definitely be making this again soon.


  1. Yum! Looks great! I’ll be trying this next week. Thanks for sharing!

  2. yum! i do a similar sauce but also add grated carrot when I sautee the onions. It gives a fresh sweetness to the dish

  3. I married an italian man, which means we get the nonna…
    And I know…she’d be pretty impressed if I served her this…
    I love when your get two meals for one…x

  4. Oh you have my mouth watering! lol! Hugs, Loretta

  5. Perfect meal for a working Mum as you get 2 nights worth out of it!
    Thanks again for some variety in our menu.

  6. Yum! This looks fantastic! I’m definitely trying this on the weekend!

  7. You’re amazing for having the time to make anything that takes 3 hours. It looks delicious, thanks for sharing.

  8. I do love your innovation in making the most out of your meals Corrie. These are just the kind of tips I’m always looking for :o)
    These do look fab and very old school Italian, well done! I think the meatballs I make take about 20 minutes to prepare, so these would be a bit of a culture shock to me ;o) but worth it I’m sure. Thanks for sharing xoxo

  9. Love your recipes but for us folks who follow you here in the states – I’m assuming “mince” is ground beef?

  10. Hi Corrie,

    Your meatballs is making me salivate!!

    But how do I make bread into the breadcrumbs? Just tearing it up into small pieces, or do I have to put in food processor?

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