Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs with Pearl Couscous

Cook time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 4-6

Ingredients

1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
10g butter
250g pearl couscous
Grated parmesan, to serve


Sauce

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
½ tsp chilli flakes
250ml red wine
400g tin of crushed tomatoes
300ml tomato puree
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
Small handful of basil leaves, torn


Meatballs

2 slices of sourdough bread (ideally stale), crusts removed, torn into small pieces
80ml milk
250g pork mince
300g beef mince
1 egg
2 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
70g baby bocconcini

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs with Pearl Couscous

Method

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and chilli flakes and fry, stirring occasionally, for 5–10 minutes until softened. Pour in the red wine and reduce by half, then stir in the tomato puree and season. Bring to the boil, turn the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes until thick and rich. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil.

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Meanwhile, make the meatballs. Soak the bread in the milk for 5 minutes, then squash between your fingers to crumble. Place the mince, egg, bread and milk mixture, herbs, garlic and a good pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Combine thoroughly with your hands. Form the mixture into 20 golf ball–sized portions and flatten out in the palm of your hand. Place a piece of bocconcini in the centre and wrap the meat mixture around the cheese. Press and then roll the balls to ensure the cheese is well encased.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium–high heat. Add the meatballs in batches and fry for 2–3 minutes until they are golden brown all over. Remove from the pan and add to the sauce in a single layer. Cover with the lid and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Bring 625ml of water to the boil, add a pinch of salt and the butter and pearl couscous. Reduce the heat to medium–low, cover with a lid and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7–8 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Stir in grated parmesan cheese and 3 tablespoons of meatball sauce, divide between plates and arrange a few meatballs on top.

Sprinkle with grated parmesan, to serve.