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The ultimate comfort food

Bake a winter warmer with a little help from our food team and Theo Randall

“This recipe I developed for ASK Italian is a favourite of mine and perfect for this time of year. It has that restaurant quality but can be adapted so that it’s simple enough to make at home. These baked meatballs are full of hearty classic Italian flavours and it’s the ideal meal for sharing with family and friends around the table."  Theo Randall

If you’re looking for a cosy mid-week recipe to warm up your evening or a classic Italian dish to dress up for a dinner party, we’re here to help with our expert friend and renowned chef, Theo Randall!

Serves 2 / prep: 30 minutes / Cook: 20 -25 minutes


For the meatballs

  • 250g of lean minced beef
  • 250g of lean minced pork
  • 50g white breadcrumbs
  • 1 garlic clove peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 large egg (lightly beaten)
  • ½ teaspoon ground fennel
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

For the Sauce

  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 350g Tomato Passata
  • Pinch crushed dried chilli – dial up the heat with extra chilli or hold back if you don’t like spice!
  • 6 basil leaves finely chopped
  • Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

Serving suggestions

6 thin slices (1cm) Ciabatta bread or baguette
OR green side salad
Fancy a vino? Go for a bold Italian red – we like Primitivo or Chianti
Garnish with 100g Buffalo mozzarella, torn into small pieces
2 basil leaves finely chopped


  1. Preheat the oven 180 °C.
  2. To make the meatballs, add all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix together with your hands so everything is combined. Form loosely into 50g meatballs.
  3. To make the spicy tomato sauce, heat one tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion and garlic and fry gently until lightly golden. Add the passata and gently bring it to the boil. Then add the crushed chilli and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. In a large frying pan heat one tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and start to gently seal off the meatballs so they have a little colour on the outside but are still rare in the middle.
  5. When you have sealed off the meatballs and they are out of the pan, add the slices of bread to the same pan to soak up the meatball juices and to lightly crisp up on both sides.
  6. Now to create your mid-week masterpiece or supper party staple – lay the bread slices at the bottom of an ovenproof dish and add the meatballs on top.
  7. Spoon the sauce over the meatballs and bake in a preheated oven at 180 °C / 350 °F / gas mark 4 for 20 to 25 minutes. Once out of the oven, evenly add the torn buffalo mozzarella and chopped basil on top.

Serve with a crisp green salad or with baked bread as we do at ASK Italian. Buon Appetito!


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