Olive Magazine
Italian meatball melt

Italian meatball melt

Published: September 15, 2020 at 10:12 am
  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Total time
    • + Chilling
  • Easy
  • Serves 4

So good it made our cover in September 2020, this Italian classic pairs homemade meatballs (made with pork and beef mince, sausages and parmesan) with a chilli tomato sauce


Try our Italian meatballs recipe then check out our veggie meatballs, classic lasagne and more meatballs recipes.


  • olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 2 x 400g tins finely chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar (any kind)
  • 16 pitted black olives
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • a bunch basil, torn
  • 125g ball mozzarella, sliced and drained on kitchen paper


  • 1 onion
  • 75g soft white breadcrumbs, soaked in 4 tbsp milk
  • 200g pork mince
  • 200g beef mince
  • 2 pork sausages, skinned
  • finely grated to make 4 tbsp parmesan
  • finely chopped to make 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • ½ tsp celery salt
  • 1 egg, beaten


  • cooked rigatoni
  • crusty bread


  • STEP 1

    To make the meatballs, cut the top off the onion, peel off the skin and the first two layers (this gets rid of any tough bits). Grate the onion on the coarse side of a box grater then squeeze out the excess juice. Measure 3 tbsp of the squeezed onion into a bowl.

  • STEP 2

    Add the rest of the ingredients with a good grind of black pepper, then use clean hands to mix everything together really well. Form into 24 meatballs and chill for at least 20 minutes or until you want to cook them.

  • STEP 3

    Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large, deep, lidded frying pan or shallow casserole. Add the meatballs in batches and cook, turning, until browned all over. Once browned, scoop out onto a plate.

  • STEP 4

    To make the sauce, add the garlic to the same pan with a little more oil, if needed, and gently sizzle for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the chilli flakes and cook for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes, vinegar and sugar. Simmer for 15 minutes until thickened, then add the meatballs with the olives and capers. Stir and simmer with a lid on for another 20 minutes then season and stir in half the basil.

  • STEP 5

    Heat the grill to medium. Dot pieces of the mozzarella all over the pan then slide under the grill and cook until the cheese has melted. Scatter over extra basil to finish, and serve with rigatoni and crusty bread.


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