Basil’s Exceptionally Easy Square Balls:

Basil’s Exceptionally Easy Square Balls:

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      30 mins       

Course:        Main

Serves:        4

Rating:         1: Easy-peasy

This recipe is a super-simple one, just using the mince as it arrives in its plastic tray.  You don’t mix it with anything at all, you simply cut it into squares!  Try it, with an open mind and an open mouth.  See how it compares with the most carefully constructed Spanish meatball recipe of the highest celebrity chef.  It won’t be that much lacking, I’ll bet!

And it’s cheaper.

And it’s quicker.

And it’s easier.

And it’s less complex!

To feed four, find:

  • Large pack (500g) lean mince (Beef, lamb, pork, turkey, chicken, traffic warden) as you get in supermarkets. (You can get mince from a butcher’s, and it’s probably better mince, but this is the super-easy version….. you’ll see…… read on…….
  • Tin chopped tomatoes
  • A little oil (not ‘engine’, ‘massage’, ‘baby’ or ‘body’)
  • 1 large onion – I like big red onions, but use what’s to hand.
  • Garlic….. I like garlic, so I use 3 or 4 cloves.  Use as many as you think.
  • A stock cube of whatever variety.

You can use part white or red wine for the stock, especially if you have a bottle that has been opened a fair while.  Recycle it into here….. 

I’m all in favour of a bit o’recycling.

  • Seasonings & fresh herbs if you have them.  Basil is the one that you really want.
  • A little coarse sea salt, if you have it.  If not…..
  • Frying pan
  • Saucepan
  • Ceramic oven dish.


  • Cut the slab of mince into 8 squares. (If you wish, you can roll the squares into balls, but this is the ‘square balls’ version…… of course, if you get a bag o’mince from t’butcher’s shop, you’ll have to roll it into balls.  Doesn’t matter; both shapes taste similar, I believe..…)
  • Put a little oil in the frying pan and set the balls to cook over a medium heat. Don’t disturb them too much as they might start to fall apart, but they must not burn.
  • Chop your onion and garlic finely and fry the onion off a little with the squares/balls; retain the garlic until the liquid goes in, so that it does not burn and turn bitter. Turn the squares/balls when they have taken on a little colour (browned a bit underneath…… don’t expect the top to turn blue or anything!)
  • Open the chopped toms and chuck ‘em in….and the garlic. That’s it, just chuck ‘em all in – this is only cookin’, not a friggin’ religious festival!
  • Make the stock by crumbling the cube into a cup and adding half a cup of boiling water to it. When it is dissolved, pour that in. (If you are using wine instead of water, put that in cold and crumble the cube on top before……
  • Mixing! Move it all around a bit.  If the frying pan has a lid, pop it on now.  I used a pan with a steel handle, so I just popped it into the oven.  Don’t do that with a plastic handled pan!
  • After about 20 mins, taste and season as you wish.
  • Tear up fresh basil leaves and stir those in just before serving.

Serve two or three squares/balls per person, and with anything else that you like!

I like roasted potato wedges or a jacket.

For weight-aware people, use this Frylite/one-cal spray stuff for all frying and roasting.

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