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Member recipe

Tuna Meatballs

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Serves 4

Absoluely delicious meatball alternative from Sicily which is just as good as the meat version! An edited version of Jamie Oliver's recipe.

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  • For the tomato sauce;
  • olive oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 x 400g cans of good-quality plum tomatoes
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • red wine
  • a small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped
  • chilli sauce (I like Nando's extra extra hot piri piri sauce) (optional)
  • For the meatballs;
  • 400g fresh tuna
  • olive oil
  • 55g pinenuts
  • 1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 100g cups stale breadcrumbs
  • 50g freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 eggs
  • juice of 1 lemon


    1. First you need to make your meatballs. Chop the tuna up into 1-inch/2.5 cm dice. Pour some olive oil into a large frying pan and place on the heat. Add the tuna to the pan with the pinenuts and cinnamon. Season lightly with salt and pepper and fry until the tuna is brown on all sides and the pinenuts are toasted.
    2. Remove from the heat and put the mixture into a bowl. Allow to cool down for 5 minutes, then add the oregano, parsley, breadcrumbs, parmesan, eggs and lemon juice to the bowl. Using your hands mix the flavors into the tuna, then divide the mixture and squeeze it into meatballs slightly smaller than a golf ball. (If you dip one of your hands in water while shaping, you'll get a smooth surface on the meatball.) If the mixture's very sticky, add a few more breadcrumbs. Keep the meatballs around the same size and place them on a tray lined with baking parchment, put them in the fridge for an hour to let them rest.
    3. Whilst the meatballs are in the fridge you need to make your sauce. Place a large pan on the heat, add a generous amount of olive oil, the onion and garlic, and fry slowly for about 10, until soft. Add the oregano, the tomatoes, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes and then blend until smooth. Add some red wine, chilli sauce, if using, and season.
    4. Heat your oven to 250 degrees celcius. Take your meatballs out of the fridge and put them straight into the oven between 10 to 15 minutes or until they are goldenand cooked through. When they're done, add them to the tomato sauce, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with spaghetti, linguine or tagliatelle.

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