Pork and Basil Meatballs with Simple Tomato-Basil Sauce


Pork and Basil Meatballs with Simple Tomato-Basil Sauce



Maybe its in my DNA, but I love fresh basil. The Donderos were originally from Genoa, on the northern Mediterranean coast of Italy. And Genoa is the home of Genovese basil and that amazing basil-pine nut sauce, Pesto (check the index on this blog for my post on Pesto with Pasta, and also for the post on the fresh mozzarella, basil and tomato salad from further south in Capri, called “Caprese”) .


With plentiful basil in my garden this summer, I’m doing many dishes with that delightful fresh herb. Here is one I just came up with, roasted pork and basil meatballs with an easily made tomato-basil sauce. Fresh basil is used in the meatballs, the sauce, and as a garnish when serving.


The recipe serves four to six as an appetizer course or four as the meat for a light summer meal. These are best served hot.


Make the sauce before, or while, roasting the meatballs (see below), and let sauce cool.


Tomato-Basil Sauce:

2 medium-large fresh tomatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 large fresh basil leaves, whole

Large pinch ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon sugar

Salt to taste, starting with 1/8 teaspoon


Core the tomatoes and chop them fairly finely on a cutting board, using a chef’s knife.


In a small pan, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped tomato and stir well as it comes to a boil. Add the basil leaves, pepper, sugar and salt. Stir frequently and boil until tomatoes thicken and dry a little, 5-10 minutes. Remove basil leaves. Taste and add a little salt if needed. Let sauce cool



4 medium-sized fresh basil leaves, finely minced

About 2 tablespoons worth of onion, finely minced

3 tablespoons unseasoned breadcrumbs

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dry oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

2 tablespoons water

1 pound fairly lean ground pork

Mince the basil and onion together on a cutting board with a chef’s knife. Place in a mixing bowl with remaining ingredients except pork, and mix well. Add ground pork and mix, kneading the ingredients together well.


With hands, shape into 12 meatballs, roughly the size of a walnut (easiest if you divide the meat in half then half again, then make 3 meatballs out of each quarter). Place on lightly oiled baking sheet. Roast in 350-degree oven for ten minutes. Turn meatballs by sliding a sharp metal spatula under them and turning them over. Roast another 15 minutes.



When meatballs are done, place them on a platter around a small bowl, into which you spoon the tomato-basil sauce. Garnish the platter with several small sprigs of fresh basil.


Diners spoon a little sauce on their meatballs on their plates.

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