Spicy Meatballs with Fetta and Risoni

Spicy Meatballs with Fetta and Risoni
These are meatballs, but make them Middle Eastern, and I think I’ve found my new favourite winter dish. It's beautifully comforting with the sweet but spicy tomato sauce, delicious pops of pine nuts and a zesty, herby risoni that really completes it (don't skip the herby risoni; once you've tried them together, you'll get it). I used to brown my meatballs in a fry pan every time but I've started roasting them which is a time saving hack (needed, I'm a mum), which really helps to reduce my time in the kitchen for this recipe.


For the meatballs:

- 1kg beef mince

- 100g Parmesan, finely grated

- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated

- 1 onion, finely diced

- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs

- 250g ricotta cheese

- 80g pine nuts, toasted

- 1 egg

- 2 ½ tsp sea salt flakes, crushed

- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil


For the sauce:

- ¼ cup olive oil

- 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped, sliced or grated

- 1 onion, finely chopped

- 2 x 400g tins whole tomatoes

- 70g harissa paste

- ½ bunch parsley, tied with kitchen twine

- 1 cinnamon stick

- 1 tsp sugar

- Parmesan rind (optional)


To serve:

- Dill

- 200g Riverina Greek Style Fetta


For the risoni:

- 350g risoni

- ¼ cup dill leaves, finely chopped

- ¼ cup parsley leaves, finely chopped

- ¼ cup chives, finely chopped

- ¼ cup mint, finely chopped

- 1 garlic clove, finely grated or chopped

- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

- Zest of 1 lemon

- Juice of ½ lemon


Serves 4 with meatballs leftover to freeze


  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  2. Prepare meatballs. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and gently mix until incorporated.
  3. Roll meatballs and place on a tray.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and roast until golden brown (10-15 minutes).
  5. For the sauce, place a large pot over medium heat.
  6. Add olive oil, onion and garlic and sauté until tender.
  7. Add tinned tomatoes (crushing the whole tomatoes in your hand as you add them), harissa, parsley, cinnamon stick, sugar, a good pinch of salt and a Parmesan rind if you have one.
  8. Add meatballs and their juices to the sauce, cover with a lid ajar and simmer on low for 2-3 hours.
  9. Crumble half your feta into the sauce, then to serve, top meatballs with remaining feta and dill.
  10. Meanwhile, for the herby risoni, cook the risoni in salty, boiling water and strain.
  11. In a mixing bowl, combine risoni, herbs, garlic, olive oil and lemon zest and juice.
  12. Taste and season with salt flakes and serve alongside meatballs.

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