50 g (2 oz) pitted black olives, chopped
grated rind of ½ lemon
500 g (1 lb) extra-lean minced beef
egg yolk
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400 g (13 oz) can chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon caster sugar
150 ml (4 pint) chicken stock
salt and pepper
small basil leaves, to garnish
cooked tagliatelle tossed with chopped basil and melted butter. to serve


1.Preheat the slow cooker if necessary. Put all the ingredients for the meatballs except for the oil in a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon.
2.Wet your hands and shape the mixture into 20 balls. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the meatballs and cook over a high heat, turning, until browned on all sides.
3. Lift them out of pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate.
4.Make the sauce. Add the onion to the pan and fry, stirring, for 5 minutes or until lightly browned.
5.Add the garlic, tomatoes, sugar, stock and salt and pepper and bring to the boil, stirring.
6.Transfer the meatballs to the slow cooker pot, pour over the hot sauce, cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
7.Garnish with basil leaves and serve with tagliatelle tossed with chopped basil and melted butter.
8.FOR HERB & GARLIC MEATBALLS, replace the olives and lemon rind with 2 finely chopped garlic cloves and 3 tablespoons chopped basil leaves.
9.Mix, shape and cook the meatballs with the sauce as above, adding a small handful of basil leaves to the sauce just before serving.

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