National Sauce Month with Meatballs from Chef Rocco of Pizzeria Libretto

March is National Sauce Month, so what better way to celebrate than with Chef Rocco of Pizzeria Libretto‘s Meatballs! Easy to make, slightly spicy with a smokey sweetness from the roasted red peppers, giving it a familiar characteristic on a dish that he enjoyed many times over, and is close to his heart. This meatball recipe is his take on the recipe his mother used to make when he was growing up. Adding pasta to these tasty meatballs is an option, but enjoying them on their own and using a crostino (grilled bread) to wipe up the sauce on the plate is a great way to enjoy this recipe.


Serves 4-6 people



-1 ½ kg ground beef/ ground pork/ ground pork belly
-¾ cups breadcrumbs
-1 egg
-½ cup parsley chopped
-¼ cup chives, chopped
-¼ cup oregano, chopped
-½ cup roasted red peppers, pureed
-½ cup parmigiano cheese, finely grated
-½ tbsp salt
-½ tbsp black pepper


1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl making sure everything is mixed together

2. Use standard ice cream scoop to portion the meatballs.

3. Roll the meat in the hand to give it a tight circular shape and place on a large sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

4. Bake in the oven at 375C for 15 min.

5. Remove from oven and set aside.



-½ cup olive oil
-½ large onion, finely diced
-1 tbsp garlic (2 cloves), finely chopped
-1 liter canned San Marsano tomato, pureed
-¼ basil, chopped
-¼ cup bomba (Italian spicy condiment found at most grocery stores)
-½ tbsp salt
-6 slices of crostini from a baguette, index finger thick
-2 tbsp olive oil
-½ cup Parmigiano cheese (coarsely grated)


1. Add ¼ cup of olive oil to a large enough pot that the meatballs will fit.

2. Sauté the onions over medium heat till translucent.

3. Add chopped garlic and sauté for another minute

4. Add the tomato sauce and bring to a simmer – for five minutes.

5. Add the chopped basil, bomba, salt and simmer for another five minutes.

6. Add meatballs and drippings left in the tray and simmer for another 15 minutes.

7. While meatballs simmer, lightly brush crostini with olive oil and bake in a 375 degree oven till light golden in colour. Remove from oven and set aside.

8. In as bowl, place 3 meatballs and pour a spoon of sauce over top each meatball.

9. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of the grated Parmigiano cheese over top, and add one of the crostino’s to each of the plates