Under The Covers’ Recipe of the Day – Meatball and Mozzarella Pan Bake

Serves 6 and Ready in 1 Hour 45 Minutes

2 x Small Onions, grated

250g x Lean Beef Mince

250g x Lean Pork Mince

125g x Fresh Breadcrumbs

1 tbsp x Fennel Seeds, crushed

1 tsp x Dried Oregano

1 x Egg

Olive Oil for frying

2 x Garlic Cloves, crushed

3 x Bay Leaves

1 x 400g tin of Chopped Tomatoes

600ml x Passata

2 tbsp x Tomato Purée

1 tbsp x Brown Sugar

1 tbsp x Red Wine Vinegar

250g x Mozzarella (a large block), grated

100g x Mascarpone

Put half the onion, all of the beef and pork mince, breadcrumbs, fennel seeds, oregano and egg in a bowl with plenty of seasoning. Mix everything with your hands really well, then shape into 20 meatballs. Heat 1 tbsp oil in an ovenproof frying pan and brown the meatballs in batches, adding more oil as you need – the meatballs should be almost cooked through. Once browned, scoop out of the pan and onto a plate.

Add the rest of the onion to the pan with another tbsp of olive oil. Fry gently until soft, then add the garlic, and fry for a couple of minutes more. Add the bay leaves, tomatoes, passata, purée, brown sugar and red wine vinegar to the frying pan, and bring to a simmer. Bubble for 20 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened, and the surface is glistening. Add back the meatballs.

Mix 200g of the grated mozzarella with the mascarpone and a little salt. Spoon the cheesy mascarpone over the meatballs in dollops, and scatter over the remaining grated mozzarella.

Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Bake for 30 minutes until the meatballs are piping hot and cooked through, and the top is golden and bubbling. Let the dish cool for 5 minutes, then add a drizzle of olive oil before spooning straight from the dish. Serve with crusty bread, pasta or rice.