Italian Meatballs in tomato sauce with peppers



Italian Meatballs in tomato sauce with peppers

By 22/10/2014

Meatballs are such a classic, quick and easy dish to make. I especially love them soaked in a rich tomato sauce.

Lemon zest added to the mixture adds a fresh and aromatic flavour and plenty of freshly chopped parsley and a garlic clove (a very Italian taste indeed) are key ingredients to make this dish stand out.

This is one of my favourites and I often make it in advance. In fact I find that it tastes even better the day after!

I have added strips of peppers as I find that they add a great deal of flavour to the sauce. Sometimes I use mushrooms too as they combine perfectly with meat.

  • Prep Time : 20 minutes
  • Cook Time : 25 minutes



Chop the bread into small chunks and soak it in the milk for a few minutes.

Mix the mince with the eggs, parsley, Parmesan or Pecorino, chopped garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper, then add the soaked bread. Stir well to make a compact mixture.

making Italian meatballs

With your hands make little balls the size of a walnut

making meal balls

Roll them in breadcrumbs

rolling in breadcrumbs

meatballs ready to cook

Cut the peppers, remove seeds and filaments and slice them into thin strips. Stir fry them for 3 minutes in a pan with 3 tbsp of olive oil

cooking peppers

Add the meatballs and continue stir frying for 5 minutes

cooking Italian meatballs

Add the tomato sauce, season with salt and pepper and a few basil leaves and continue cooking for about 15 minutes over a low heat.

Italian meatballs in tomato sauce

Serve warm with rice, potatoes, polenta or crusty bread.

Italian meatballs in tomato sauce

I am entering this to  "Cook, Blog, Share" and to "Recipe of the Week".

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14 Responses to Italian Meatballs in tomato sauce with peppers

  1. Dottie Sauchelli Balin

    Dearest Alida,
    These tasty meat balls in tomato sauce with peppers are fabulous! I love this dish. Simplicity at it’s best. I make my meatballs similar to you only a few differences. I have never added lemon zest, I must try that. I bet it gives it a fresh twist. Like the peppers with the meatballs and sauce as well. The Basil is another herb that I have never added to the meatballs. Parsley and the cheese we always add, plus all the rest. So now when I make them again, I will add the lemon zest and the basil. Your recipe will be next that I try. They look lovely on that plate and very colorful with the peppers added. You are correct, it also seems to taste better the next day…strange, but ours is not to question, only to eat! Mangia! Thank you for sharing your recipe…Have a glorious day!
    Dottie 🙂

    • Alida

      Grazie Dottie!

  2. la cucina di Molly

    Che piatto gustoso, adoro le polpette e con i peperoni sono fantastici! Certo che qui è d’obbligo la scarpetta! Un abbraccio!

  3. Catherine

    This is a nice meal dear Alida. I would love it with a nice loaf of crusty bread. Blessings dear. Catherine

  4. Jane

    This is a nice twist on the old meatball. We eat a lot of spag bog in our house so I will try this next time. Thanks!

  5. gloria

    Alida!I love these meat balls look delicious!

  6. Lucy Parissi

    Hurray for meatballs! I must say I love them in any guise and I had lunch at Polpo this week so your recipe could not be more timely. Love the trick of rolling into breadcrumbs – must try it. Thanks for linking to #CookBlogShare

  7. Louise

    Hi Alida!
    It has been soooooo long since I’ve made meatballs, I can’t even remember if I’ve made any since last year. What a bad, bad, girl, lol…I love your recipe with the addition of lemon juice. What a zesty idea:) Rolling the little meatballs in breadcrumbs is also quite novel. I’ll have to try both those ideas very soon!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing, Alida…

    P.S. I still have Italian Parsley growing outside. I better take it in ASAP! Thanks for the reminder:)

  8. Diana

    Looks delicious!!!!

    • Alida

      Grazie cara x

    • Alida

      Thank you Kate. They are such a classic dish, good for everyday!

  9. Alison

    I love homemade meatballs, they are so much tastier. These look lovely

  10. Honest mum

    So tasty! Thanks for linking up x

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