If you have not tried these Midlanduja Meatballs, they’re a great way to try a new flavour. As much as this recipe might look like a challenge to the amateur cook, it really isn’t that difficult. It’s a good excuse for a little you time in the kitchen! There’s also something therapeutic about making the nduja meatballs. When you taste the incredible flavour of these once you’re eating them, you’ll be pleased with your acheivment!
Nduja Meatballs… Why Make Them Spicy?
I think the simple answer is why not! Adding a layer of flavour and a gentle spice, really elevates the somewhat average taste of mass market beef and pork. The additional sweet, spicy and umami hot the nduja gives you is awesome.
Don’t feel you have to serve these with pasta, the recipe may well suggest this, however a skewer and a glass of wine is good enough, especially if you wanted to make these as part of a tapas style dinner. Stuzzichini, cicchetti (Venice) or Sputini is what tapas is refer to in Italy, many countries do tapas food but we all seem to think it’s just Spain that does this the most.
So why do we use breadcrumbs and egg in meatballs?
Is adding these ingredients a simple filler technique to pad out the meatballs? Not necessarily no, if I were to make a standard meatball I would not always use the egg and breadcrumb in them. When we add ingredients that have fat content and we want to retain those juicy flavours it’s a good idea to use a dried ingredient such as breadcrumbs. This will then grab the fats and keep the nduja meatballs juicy. The other point to add is that if you cook these hard and fast it gives them less chance to leach out the flavours you have added.
Midlanduja MeatballsCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Medium
250g Minced Beef
250g Minced Pork
1 Tbsp Honey
1 Lemon, Juiced
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, Finely Chopped
1 Egg Yolk
- For the Sauce:
400g Tinned Chopped Tomatoes
2 Tbsp Fresh Sage
1 Sprig Fresh Rosemary
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Onion, Finely Diced
- Pre-heat the oven to 220°C
- Add the Midlanduja, honey and lemon juice to a sauce pan, bring the heat up and amalgamate the three ingredients to intensify the flavours.
- Combine all of the rest of the meatball ingredients into a large bowl, squish all the mixture between your fingers by grabbing handfuls at a time, do this for a couple of minutes until well combined. Add the Midlanduja you created in the previous step and mix one last time.
- In a pan add the onion and garlic with the oil, cook until turning brown then add the tomatoes, herbs and seasoning. Bring to a rolling boil for a couple of minutes to reduce the water in the tomatoes slightly. Now turn to the lowest heat and simmer while the meatballs cook.
- Roll into meatballs, it’s a good tip to rub your hands with a little olive oil first to prevent all of the myosin from the meat making your hands too sticky! Roll these slightly smaller than a golf ball and place into an oven dish. Now turn off the oven and turn the grill to full, we want to cook these hard and fast to retain the fats and keep them juicy but also putting a little bark on the outside for texture. Place these under the grill. Turn them every couple of minutes. These should only take 8-10 minutes depending on how large you made them.
- Once cooked, carefully place the meatballs into the tomato sauce and turn up the heat for a minute or too.
- Either serve with some warm crusty bread or pasta of your choice, maybe even rice.