This is good dish for using up unused vegetables. The great thing is you can substitute the vegetables and meat for whatever you have available. Proper peasant style.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

For the sauce

2 white onions – diced

400g mushrooms

2 carrots – peeled and chopped

3 mixed peppers – deseeded and diced

2 400g tins of chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato purée

4 garlic cloves – crushed

1tbsp mixed herbs

Olive oil

Salt and pepper


For the meatballs

450g pork mince

1tbsp mixed herbs

1tsp ground cinnamon

1tsp mixed spice

1tsp garlic powder, purée or clove

1/2 tsp turmeric

25g Breadcrumbs

1 tsp nutmeg (fresh or ground)

Salt and pepper

Chopped parsley

Lemon wedge

Grated parmesan


Make your sauce in a deep pan by warming a splash of olive oil. Add the vegetables, garlic, mixed herbs and seasoning and cook until soft. Next, add the chopped tomatoes, purée, and 100ml of water and a splash of red wine if you want. Simmer gently for 60-90 minutes.

Leave to cool and blitz with a hand blender until smooth. Add a tablespoon of honey or sugar if the sauce tastes a little bitter.

While your sauce is simmering, place all the ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl, using your hands to mix well, then form into 16 small balls. I’ve used pork mince but this would work fine with beef, lamb or turkey. Cover and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutess, but you can also leave overnight.

Heat a splash of oil in a large non-stick frying pan and add the meatballs. Cook for 5-6 mins, until they are browned all over.

Gently place them into a pan with your sauce. Cook through for 5 minutes and serve with a pasta of your choice.

Add a sprinkle of Parmesan, fresh parsley and a lemon wedge.

Gary Townsend is head chef at One Devonshire Gardens by Hotel du Vin, Glasgow. See or phone 0141 378 0385 to book. Twitter @Chefgtownsend Instagram- @chef.g.townsend