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Italian Meatballs with Orzo serves 6-8

I adapted this recipe from the brilliant At My Table by Nigella Lawson. I have made meatballs with orzo before but this recipe was super tasty.


700g minced beef

1 tbsp rapeseed oil/olive oil

800g chopped tomatoes (2 tins)

2 onions, diced

pinch caster sugar

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 tbsp dried oregano

1 egg, beaten

2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs

100ml dry red wine

handful finely chopped fresh basil

280g orzo pasta

sea salt

black pepper



  • In a large pan, heat the oil and then add the onions and garlic with a pinch of salt. Cook for 3-4 mins.

  • Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the red wine and sugar and let it boil for around 5 mins. 

  • Turn the heat down to a simmer and add the basil. Add 2 tinfulls of water (just fill the tin cans). Stir and put the lid on the pan for around 7-8 mins.

  • Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine beef, oregano, tomatoes, egg, breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper.

  • Start making small meatballs with you beef mixture and plop them into the tomato sauce as you make them. Make sure the meatballs are submerged in the liquid. If not, add more water. Bring to the boil. Season well. Taste!

  • Add the orzo and give it a good stir. Put the lid on and simmer for 15-20 mins, checking every so often. You may need to stir if the orzo is sticking.

  • Take the lid off. Most of the liquid should be absorbed and the pasta ready. 

  • Serve with a sprinkling of fresh basil if you like.

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