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Meatballs baked in Tomato sauce on Polenta

 In Dinner/Supper, Meat, Recipes

Meatballs baked in tomato sauce on polenta

When I saw this recipe on one of my favourite blogs, Souvlaki for the Soul, a while ago, I knew I’d be giving it a go soon. I was just waiting for a cold day where the only comfort can be found in a bowl filled with delicious food.

Meatballs baked in tomato sauce on polenta

This recipe combines two of my absolute favourite things; Meatballs and soft polenta. I am a little obsessed with Polenta and I try to make use of this simple, versatile ingredient as much as possible during the colder months. It is perfect served with saucy, meaty dishes. I’ve heard a lot of people saying they don’t like polenta because of the texture and this is simply because they have not used enough liquid and they haven’t cooked the polenta for long enough. When undercooked, polenta will be quite grainy but when cooked properly, the grains are allowed to swell fully and the texture is rich, creamy and scrumptious.

Meatballs baked in tomato sauce on polenta

For the meatballs, I used the same recipe as for my Cheesy Meatballs baked in tomato sauce but left out the cheese as I wanted to top the finished dish with lots of grated Pecorino and fresh parsley. The end result was a delicious bowl of comfort food, perfect for the colder months.

Meatballs baked in tomato sauce on polenta

5.0 from 1 reviews
Meatballs baked in Tomato sauce on Polenta
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main, Entree,
Serves: 4-6
for the meatballs
  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 onion, finely chopped and sauteed
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • salt & black pepper to taste
for the sauce
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g tin tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • salt & pepper to taste
for the polenta
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 2 cups stock
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 50ml cream
  • salt to taste
to serve
  • Pecorino, grated
  • fresh parsley, finely chopped
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. For the meatballs, combine all the ingredients and mix well.
  3. Combine all the sauce ingredients and pour into a deep roasting dish/casserole dish.
  4. Form medium sized meatballs and place into the roasting dish.
  5. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the sauce has reduced slightly and the meatballs are cooked.
  6. To make the polenta, bring the stock and milk to a simmer and whisk in the polenta. Continue whisking until the polenta has started thickening then turn down the heat and allow the polenta to gently cook for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Add the butter, cream and season with salt.
  8. Serve the polenta with the meatballs and sauce topped with grated Pecorino and parsley.

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Alida Ryder
Being a general food freak has proven to be quite helpful in this career I've found myself in. Author of two cookbooks, photographer, food stylist. Mom to twins. Ex make-up and hair artist obsessed with beautiful clothes and spaces. I love a good G&T and I've been known to spend too much money on shoes.
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Showing 12 comments
  • Wendy

    Would it be possible to prep and freeze the meatballs like a few weeks ahead of time? If so, would you make any adjustments to the recipe or cooking times?

    • Alida Ryder

      Yes, of course. I would cook them from frozen and would add around 10 minutes to the cooking time. The sauce might get a little watery from the frozen meatballs so you might want to simmer it uncovered to reduce a little.

  • Marina

    400g tomato paste??? wouldn’t it be too much for 500g miced meat?

    • Alida Ryder

      Purée, not paste. Tomato purée is similar in consistency to passata. It’s much milder than tomato paste.

  • Gvela

    I don’t know where the polenta went wrong.. It was too damn liquidy! Was I was supposed to let the milk and stock boil and then add the polenta then let it simmer? Also saying to cube it first would have helped!

    • Alida Ryder

      Gvela, did you use ready-cooked polenta? The polenta I used in this recipe did not need to be cubed as it is in raw form (almost like grits if you are from the States). And yep, you bring the milk and stock to a simmer and then whisk in the polenta before allowing it to cook until thick.

  • Rene

    I have to try polenta like this. I’ve only ever had Polenta that other people made, and it was horrible. I couldn’t understand why people would eat it. For me it tasted as if I was eating pap straight out of the packet.

    • Alida Ryder

      Rene, this happens so often as people don’t cook polenta for long enough or with enough liquid. This way of cooking ensures soft, luscious polenta. 🙂

  • Brooke Schweers

    Yum this looks divine. Never though to serve meatballs over polenta but it makes perfect sense now!

    • Alida Ryder

      Brooke, it is simply perfection. Such comfort food!

  • kelly leiva

    Is this baked covered? Sounds wonderful:)

    • Alida Ryder

      Kelly, it isn’t. I like to leave it uncovered because the sauce gets to reduce and become rich and delicious.

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