The best tuna meatballs (Le migliori polpette di tonno)

Tuna Meatballs

Serves 4

  • For the tomato sauce

  • olive oil

  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 2 x 400 g good-quality tinned plum tomatoes

  • sea salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • red wine vinegar

  • 1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped

  • For the meatballs

  • 400 g tuna, from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger

  • olive oil

  • 55 g pine nuts

  • 1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • sea salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

  • 100 g stale breadcrumbs

  • 25 g Parmesan, freshly grated

  • 2 free-range eggs

  • 1 lemon

First make your sauce. Place a large pan on the heat, add a good lug of olive oil, your onion and garlic and fry slowly for 10 or so minutes until soft. Add your oregano, the tomatoes, salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or so, then liquidize until smooth. Taste – it might need a tiny swig of red wine vinegar or some extra seasoning.



While the tomatoes are simmering, chop the tuna up into 2.5cm/1 inch dice. Pour a good couple of tablespoons of olive oil into a large frying pan and place on the heat. Add the tuna to the pan with the pine nuts and cinnamon. Season lightly with salt and pepper and fry for a minute or so to cook the tuna on all sides and toast the pine nuts. Remove from the heat and put the mixture into a bowl. Allow to cool down for 5 minutes, then add the oregano, parsley, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, eggs, and zest and juice of the lemon to the bowl. Using your hands, really scrunch and mix the flavours into the tuna, then divide the mixture and squeeze it into meatballs slightly smaller than a golf ball. If you dip one of your hands in water while shaping you'll get a nice smooth surface on the meatball. If the mixture's very sticky, add a few more breadcrumbs. Keep the meatballs around the same size and place them on an oiled tray, then put them in the fridge for an hour to let them rest.



Put the pan you fried the tuna in back on the heat with a little olive oil. Add your meatballs to the pan and jiggle them about until they're golden brown all over. You might want to do them in batches – when they're done, add them to the tomato sauce, divide between your plates, sprinkle with chopped parsley and drizzle with good olive oil. Great served with spaghetti or linguine.

Nutritional Information

The best tuna meatballs (Le migliori polpette di tonno)

In a delicious tomato sauce

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0 foodies cooked this
Made with fresh fish, herbs and spices, these tuna meatballs are just as tasty as the meaty version
Serves 4
55m (plus resting time)
Super easy
Method

Just about everyone I know is a fan of meatballs, so I thought I'd give you a recipe for these as they are something a little different. I've seen them made in Sicily in the same way, using a mixture of swordfish and tuna – not jarred or tinned tuna though. These have to be made with fresh fish and they are subtly seasoned with Sicilian herbs and spices – this recipe is just as good as the meat versions!

First make your sauce. Place a large pan on the heat, add a good lug of olive oil, your onion and garlic and fry slowly for 10 or so minutes until soft. Add your oregano, the tomatoes, salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or so, then liquidize until smooth. Taste – it might need a tiny swig of red wine vinegar or some extra seasoning.

While the tomatoes are simmering, chop the tuna up into 2.5cm/1 inch dice. Pour a good couple of tablespoons of olive oil into a large frying pan and place on the heat. Add the tuna to the pan with the pine nuts and cinnamon. Season lightly with salt and pepper and fry for a minute or so to cook the tuna on all sides and toast the pine nuts. Remove from the heat and put the mixture into a bowl. Allow to cool down for 5 minutes, then add the oregano, parsley, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, eggs, and zest and juice of the lemon to the bowl. Using your hands, really scrunch and mix the flavours into the tuna, then divide the mixture and squeeze it into meatballs slightly smaller than a golf ball. If you dip one of your hands in water while shaping you'll get a nice smooth surface on the meatball. If the mixture's very sticky, add a few more breadcrumbs. Keep the meatballs around the same size and place them on an oiled tray, then put them in the fridge for an hour to let them rest.

Put the pan you fried the tuna in back on the heat with a little olive oil. Add your meatballs to the pan and jiggle them about until they're golden brown all over. You might want to do them in batches – when they're done, add them to the tomato sauce, divide between your plates, sprinkle with chopped parsley and drizzle with good olive oil. Great served with spaghetti or linguine.

Nutritional Information Amount per serving:

Calories

Calories are just a unit of energy. If you eat more than you use you can gain weight, or lose it if you don't eat enough. How much you need depends on your weight, gender and how active you are, but it's around 2,000 a day.

Carbs

Carbs are a great source of energy and, excluding foods such as potatoes, are made from grains - like bread, pasta and cereal. We all need carbs, but try to make them all wholegrain by sticking to brown bread, rice and pasta - they are much more nutritious.

Sugar

We all deserve a treat sometimes, but try to limit your sugar intake. Most of your sugar should come from raw fruit and milk, because they give us lots of nutrients too. Always check food labels so you know how much sugar you're eating.

Fat

We all need to eat a small amount of fat because it protects our organs and helps us grow. But we need to be careful about how much fat we eat and what kinds of fat, because in higher levels it's associated with weight gain, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Saturates

Saturated or "bad fats" are in beef, pork, chicken skin, butter, cream and cheese. Too much can be bad for our heart and cholesterol levels, but unsaturated or "good fats" in fish, nuts, avocados and some oils can help keep our hearts healthy if eaten in moderation.

Protein

Protein helps our muscles to grow and repair, as well as providing you with essential amino acids. When it comes to protein, try to eat leaner sources such as chicken and fish or non-meat sources such as eggs, dairy, beans, nuts, seeds, tofu and pulses.
  • Calories 566
    28%
  • Carbs 27.6g
    11%
  • Sugar 8.4g 9%
  • Fat 32.7g 47%
  • Saturates 5.7g 29%
  • Protein 38.1g 85%
Of an adult's reference intake

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BUYING SUSTAINABLY SOURCED FISH

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Buying sustainably sourced fish means buying fish that has been caught without endangering the levels of fish stocks and with the protection of the environment in mind. Wild fish caught in areas where stocks are plentiful are sustainably sourced, as are farmed fish that are reared on farms proven to cause no harm to surrounding seas and shores.

When buying either wild or farmed fish, ask whether it is sustainably sourced. If you're unable to obtain this information, don't be afraid to shop elsewhere – only by shopping sustainably can we be sure that the fantastic selection of fish we enjoy today will be around for future generations.

For further information about sustainably sourced fish, please refer to the useful links below:

Marine Stewardship Council
http://www.msc.org/

Fish Online
http://www.fishonline.org

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  • For the tomato sauce

  • olive oil

  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 2 x 400 g good-quality tinned plum tomatoes

  • sea salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • red wine vinegar

  • 1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped

  • For the meatballs

  • 400 g tuna, from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger

  • olive oil

  • 55 g pine nuts

  • 1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • sea salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

  • 100 g stale breadcrumbs

  • 25 g Parmesan, freshly grated

  • 2 free-range eggs

  • 1 lemon