I absolutely love this Tapas dish, and I often use it to judge a good Tapas restaurant. If done properly, the meatballs should be bite-sized, soft but not too heavy or dense, and the sauce should be rich and flavoursome.
400g Minced beef or pork
1 Onion, finely chopped
60g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 Garlic cloves
Large bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
3 tbs Olive oil
1 tsp Nutmeg
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black pepper
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Dried basil
Preparation and cooking
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the minced meat, crushed garlic, chopped parsley, milk, beaten egg, breadcrumbs, nutmeg, pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt. Make sure the mixture is well combined, and then start to divide in 3cm diameter balls (approx. 30g each). Roll them in the palm of your hand to ensure they are nicely shaped, and then place on a plate. Repeat until all the mixture is used up. Now chill them in the fridge for about 30 minutes before cooking.
Remove the skin of the tomatoes and chop them in small pieces. Put aside for the sauce. Finely chop the onion. Put aside for the sauce.
Fry the meatballs in 2 tbs of olive oil over a medium heat, but ensuring they are browned all over. Don’t turn them too often otherwise they may break up. Cooking the meatballs could take 15-20 minutes. When they are ready, remove the balls to a warmed plate. Add the remaining olive oil to the same pan, with the onions and soften them over a medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Now add the tomatoes, 1 tsp of salt, sugar and basil. Cook for 5-10 minutes, then return the meatballs back to the pan (together with any juices), and warm though for a few more minutes. Serve and enjoy.
The typical variations in their recipe are really around slow cooking in an oven at 180°C for 30+ minutes to make the sauce rich. Alternatively, adding some chilli to the sauce to spice it up or red Rioja wine to increase the intensity.