Meatballs with yellow polenta

Serves 6

1/2 kg/1lb minced pork
1/2 kg/1lb minced veal
75g/3oz soft white breadcrumbs
1 dried red chilli, crumbled
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
Small bunch of thyme, leaves only
75g/3oz freshly grated Parmesan
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 dried red chilli, crumbled
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 fresh bay leaves
1 bunch of sage
200ml/7fl oz full-bodied red wine
2 jars of good-quality Italian tomatoes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl and mix very well. The easiest and most thorough way of doing this is with your hands. Once the mixture is well combined, roll into 18 generous-sized balls and set aside while you make the sauce.

Place a large, heavy-based pan on top of the stove, turn the heat to medium and add the olive oil. Once the oil is warm, add the onion, chilli and garlic, turn the heat down slightly and cook for 10 minutes; the onion should be soft and translucent.

Add the bay leaves, sage and a good pinch of salt and cook for a further five minutes, then add the wine and return the heat to medium.

Allow the wine to bubble for a minute, then add the tomatoes, place a lid on the pan and cook for half-an-hour, by which time the sauce should have reduced a little to be rich and dark.

Season with a good pinch of salt and a little black pepper and add the meatballs. Return the lid and cook for 20 minutes, then serve.

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