Meatballs in tomato and pea sauce

There’s an Italian restaurant not too far from us that has a fabulous entree. It’s so simple but so tasty.

It’s meatballs in tomato sauce served in a little pot. I have to give Will credit for being the first to recreate this dish at home but this is my first attempt at it and it was too good not to share. It’s a relatively easy recipe and you can experiment with the flavours if you’re not keen on my herb and spice combination.

Roll the meatballs

Make the meatballs by combining all the ingredients in a large bowl. You could use a spoon but I find it much easier to stick my hands in and squelch all the ingredients together.

If the mixture is too wet, add extra breadcrumbs.

Once everything is well mixed in, shape the meat into balls using about a tablespoon full of mixture per ball.

Place the balls on a plate or tray and cover them up then refrigerate them until it’s cooking time. You could make them up to a day in advance and the same with the sauce.

Heat sauce

To make the tomato sauce, saute the onions in a little oil and cook them until they are soft.

Add the tin of tomatoes and the sugar to the pan along with the tomato paste.

Stir it all together then bring the pot to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Let it simmer away until it thickens and turns a rich red colour. Taste the sauce and season it to your liking.

You might like to add a little extra tomato paste if it’s not rich enough. If you’re finishing the dish now, add the peas and stir them through. If not, add them just before you start to cook the meatballs.

Seal the meatballs

Heat a non stick pan and cook the meatballs until they are sealed on all sides. I think next time I would possibly put them in the oven after this stage for a little bit of baking before putting them in the sauce. They took a little while to cook in the fry pan to sauce method.

Meatballs in sauce

Carefully transfer the meatballs to the hot sauce (on the heat) and turn them around to coat in the sauce. Cover the pan and leave to simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.

Meatballs in tomato and pea sauce

Serve the meatballs in individual dishes with whatever you like.

I served them with steamed vegetables and baked potato. The potato was great to soak up any left over sauce. Enjoy!


Meatballs in tomato and pea sauce
Author: Claire K Creations
Serves: 3
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 tin crushed tomato
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of frozen peas
  • For the meatballs:
  • 300g beef mince
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • a sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  1. To make the sauce, saute onion in a little oil until soft then add the tin of tomatoes. Stir through the tomato paste and sugar and bring the pot to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes until it is thick and rich in colour.
  2. To make the meatballs, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and squelch it all up with your hands (use gloves if you don’t want meat under your fingernails).
  3. Using one tablespoon of mixture at a time, roll the mixture into balls. Place them on a plate, cover and refrigerate until cooking time.
  4. Heat a large fry pan and cook the meatballs until they are sealed on the outside. Transfer the meatballs to the hot sauce, cover them in sauce, place a lid on the pan and cook until the meatballs are cooked through.
  5. Serve the meatballs in individual containers with sides of your choice.

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