Baked Meatballs with Gnocchi

This is a great dish to serve up for a crowd or, if there isn’t a crowd, make it and enjoy some tasty left-overs.

I got the inspiration for this recipe from one that I saw in the October 2011 issue of Recipes+. I hadn’t really thought about baking meatballs before – I don’t know why. Cooking them in this way lets the flavour of the meatballs get into the sauce, and the addition of gnocchi means you don’t need to cook any pasta in a separate pot. 

This dish takes a little bit of preparation but it isn’t difficult by any means.

Ingredients – serves 6/8:

Meatballs:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1kg/2lbs beef mince (ground), preferably low fat
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs
  • 1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 2 beef stock cubes
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp oil, for cooking

Sauce:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cups tomato passata (or your favourite tomato pasta sauce)
  • 400g/14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • approx 300g/10oz shelf-fresh gnocchi
  • 50g/2oz grated cheese
  • black pepper, to season
  • finely grated parmesan, to serve

Method:

  • Mix all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl then form bite-sized meatballs and place on a plate. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the meatballs in batches for about 8 minutes until browned all over. Remove the meatballs from the pan and place in a single layer in a large ovenproof dish.
  • Heat your oven to 200C/180C fan forced/390F.
  • Add the onion to the pan and cook for a few minutes or until starting to soften, then add the carrot and celery and cook for 5 minutes. (You can add a touch more oil if your pan is a little dry.)
  • Once the vegetables are starting to soften, add the passata, tomatoes, and wine. Bring to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Carefully pour the sauce over the top of the meatballs then scatter over the gnocchi.
  • Scatter over the grated cheese and season with some black pepper.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese melted.
  • Leave to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving topped with finely grated parmesan.
  • Enjoy!

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2 Responses to Baked Meatballs with Gnocchi

  1. It looks yummy. You should try making gnocchi, it’s sooooo easy – I have a recipe somewhere on my blog if you’re interested. Meatballs are fun to make too, yours sound delicious.

  2. That is one hearty dish. Yum

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