Meatballs in tomato Sauce

Found in most tapas bars, this traditional dish tastes best when served piping hot straight from the pan. Provide plenty of fresh bread to mop up the juicy tomato sauce.

  • Serves: 4
  • Difficulty: Very easy
  • Preparation time: 45 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 8 oz ground beef
  • 1 cup (2 oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated Manchego or Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 2 scallions, chopped fine
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups (16 oz) canned plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red wine
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary


In a bowl, thoroughly mix together the beef, breadcrumbs, cheese, tomato paste, garlic, scallions, egg, thyme, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, shape the mixture into 12 to 15 firm balls.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook for several minutes or until browned on all sides.

Add the tomatoes, wine, basil, and rosemary. Simmer gently for around 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked. Season generously with salt and pepper and serve hot.

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Tapas are Spain's greatest food invention. "Eat when you drink, drink when you eat" is the philosophy. Spanish men traditionally drink outside the home and rarely alone. They are not meant to be a meal (although a ración is a substantial portion). One tapa per person and a different one with each drink is the idea, then everyone enjoys tasting and sharing.