Skill level

Average: 4.3 (11 votes)


  • 150 g (5½ oz) Chunky Italian red sauce
  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) minced (ground) lamb
  • 1 egg
  • 30 g (1 oz/¼ cup) dry breadcrumbs
  • 35 g (1¼ oz/⅓ cup) finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 thyme sprigs, finely chopped
  • 30 g (1 oz/1 small bunch) flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • olive oil spray, for baking


Spice mix

  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp mild paprika
  • 1 pinch cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • pinch of curry powder



  • 350 g (12 oz) fregola
  • 50 g (1¾ oz) pumpkin seeds(pepitas)
  • 2½ tbsp olive oil
  • 200 g (7 oz) fresh ricotta
  • 10 g (¼ oz/½ bunch) tarragon leaves, roughly torn
  • ½ small lemon, juiced

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F) and add a small ovenproof saucer of water to the back of the oven to create humidity.

To make the spice mix, toast the coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a dry frying pan over low heat until they start to release their aromas.

Once toasted, combine with the rest of the spices in a small bowl and mix together well.

Add 2 tablespoons of the spice mix directly to the red sauce at this stage to ensure the spices are later distributed evenly throughout the lamb.

In a mixing bowl, combine the lamb, egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, thyme, parsley and spiced red sauce, and season with salt and pepper. Gently fold the minced lamb with your hands until all of the ingredients are evenly combined. Using your hands, roll the mixture into 70 g (2½ oz) balls.

Spray a baking tray with olive oil and carefully place the meatballs in the tray. Bake the balls in the humid oven for 18 minutes. Serve immediately.

Meanwhile, for the fregola, cook the fregola in a saucepan of salted water, following the packet directions, until done. Toast the pepitas in a dry frying pan over medium heat for around 3 minutes until they start to take on some colour. Strain the pasta and combine in a mixing bowl with the olive oil, ricotta cheese, tarragon and pepitas. Add the lemon juice and season to taste, stirring everything through. You can enjoy this dish either warm or cold.  


Recipe and images from Meatballs by Matteo Bruno (Murdoch Books, $35, hbk).


View our Readable feasts review and more recipes from the book here.