Nonna’s Meatballs

by Leah Halmagyi


  • 800g pork and veal mince
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ bunch parsley, very finely chopped
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • sea salt flakes and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 brown onion, very finely diced
  • 2 sticks celery, very finely diced
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ bunch sage, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1L beef stock
  • 700ml tomato passata
  • polenta , shaved Parmesan and salsa verde, to serve


Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
Serves: 4-6

1 Combine the mince, white wine, half the garlic, grated Parmesan, cinnamon, parsley and breadcrumbs in the bowl of an electric mixer. Season with salt and pepper, then beat with paddle attachment on medium speed for 10 minutes. Form into 40 small balls with wet hands, then refrigerate for 1 hour, until firm.
2 Sauté the onion and celery in half the oil in a large saucepan for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the sage, bay leaves and remaining garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Pour in the wine, boil, then add the stock and passata. Season with salt and pepper and continue simmering.
3 Fry the meatballs in batches in the remaining oil until browned. Transfer to the sauce and simmer for 1 hour, until the sauce has thickened. Serve with polenta, shaved Parmesan and salsa verde.