Meatballs In Tomato Sauce Recipe


Did you know the Spanish have their own verb for enjoying tapas, such is its popularity? “Tapear” means “to have tapas”. It’s not just the varied and delicious dishes that have earned it this linguistic accolade, but the warm and sociable way of eating and sharing together. Informal and relaxed, traditionally served with a glass of wine, is there any wonder a tapas meal is a recipe for fun and laughter?

We’ve treated you already to Pan Fried Prawns with Chorizo and Sherry, and Pepper and Goats Cheese Tarts, but if you’re looking for more Jo Pratt recipes to complete our #MyHolidayDish tapas ensemble, here’s what you’ve been waiting for.

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

The last but by no means least in the series is meaty and satisfying with a flavoursome herby hit that will have delightful scents wafting through the kitchen of your villa, or at home. Although the recipe calls for pork mince, you could quite easily use chicken, beef or lamb and, as to your taste.

Whatever you decide to use, this is sure to be a family favourite that will feature again and again in your cooking repertoire as a meal in its own right, or as part of a tapas feast.

Let Jo Pratt show you how to bring the flavours all together.

Serves 8 as tapas


For the meatballs:

450g lean minced pork

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

½ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)

4 tbsp of finely chopped herbs, using a selection of fresh rosemary, thyme, oregano and mint

125g white breadcrumbs, fresh or dried

1 egg, lightly beaten

3 tbsp olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the tomato sauce:

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 stick of celery, finely chopped

175ml red wine

2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

1 bay leaf, fresh or dried


Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan ovens/gas 4.

To prepare the meatballs, simply mix everything together apart from the olive oil, in a large bowl, including a good pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. It is far easier doing this by using your hands rather than a spoon. Alternatively if you have one, you could just whiz everything together in a food processor.

Shape the meatball mixture into 24 balls (smaller or larger if you prefer) and keep to one side.

Add the 3 tbsp of olive oil to a roasting tray. Place in the oven for a couple of minutes to heat up and then add the meatballs. Roll them around so they are coated in the oil and then return the tray to the oven to cook the meatballs for 30 minutes.

During the cooking time, turn the meatballs a few times so they become evenly golden.

While the meatballs are cooking, you can prepare the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or deep-sided sauté pan and gently cook the onion and celery for about 5 minutes until they are softened and start to colour.

Stir in the red wine, tomatoes and bay leaf.

Bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes until you have a rich sauce.

Season with salt and pepper.

Add the browned meatballs to the sauce and cook gently for a further 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Don’t forget to take a photo of your tapas feast. We’d love you to share your success with us on social media using #MyHolidayDish on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

meatballs in tomato sauce recipe Jo Pratt

#MyHolidayDish Jo Pratt Recipes – Meatballs in rich tomato sauce.

Tapas is not only delicious, its a unique way of dining that everyone should experience. See how it’s done in true authentic style on a villa holiday in Spain.


Sally is a Digital Acquisition Manager at James Villa Holidays.

“What! Not another holiday?” Is a term I often hear when talking to colleagues about...

See all articles by Sally

See all articles by Sally

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