I always struggle to think of meals for my diet days–varied and exciting meals, anyway. However, this meaty, cheesy, tomatoey concoction, the Italian meatball gratin, ticks all the boxes and is tasty and feels like a proper Saturday treat.
Hearty Italian Meatball Gratin
- 400 grams ground beef (minced beef) - 5% fat
- 1 medium yellow onion - very finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic - finely diced
- 3 rashers bacon - smoked, trimmed of all fat and finely diced
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon passata or crushed tomatoes (tomato puree with seeds removed)
- 1 medium egg - beaten
- 1 tin tomatoes - chopped
- 6 tablespoon passata or crushed tomatoes (tomato puree with seeds removed)
- 50 ml red wine
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 16 small black olives - chopped
- 80 grams cheddar cheese - reduced-fat and grated
- Fry the bacon in oil until crisp. Add the remainder of the meatball ingredients to a bowl and plenty of cracked black pepper. Mix well.
- Shape the mixture into meatballs just larger than a walnut. Using the same pan as for the bacon, fry the meatballs until browned on all sides – you may need to do this in two batches – then cover and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Put all of the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly.
- Cover the base of a casserole or gratin dish with the meatballs, aligned evenly, leaving space in between each one. Pour the sauce obto meatballs, ensuring that it fills all the gaps.
- Sprinkle the cheese, then place in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cheese on top is browned. Serve with a large green salad.