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Recipe: Georgia East’s Wagyu Polpette With Roasted Tomato Sauce

Moreish, carby and comforting – cookbook author and photographer Georgia East’s meatball pasta is a foolproof crowd pleaser

By House & Garden South Africa | April 20, 2022 | Recipes

It’s not a secret that I’m a Weskus girl through and through! And apart from thinking about my future farmhouse, there’s nothing I love more than finding amazing businesses doing delicious things along this beloved coastline of mine. Enter L.A. Farms – an ethical, family-run butchery situated in St Helena Bay. Encompassing the “farm to table” ethos, L.A. Farms raises free-range cattle and sheep on natural coastal grazing and processes their meat on-site. Strictly Halaal, L.A. Farms is strident about quality and so you’ll not find growth hormones or routine antibiotics here. L.A. Farms offers a range of delicious cuts from their herds of Aberdeen Angus, West Coast lamb or their Waygu cattle. For this recipe I had the opportunity to work with the latter – that most decadent of proteins, proper Wagyu beef.

I decided to develop a dish using L.A. Farms’ Wagyu mince, fashioned into generously sized meatballs and served simmering in a slow-roasted tomato sauce. We’ve just come into tomato season and their bright acidity offers the perfect foil to the richness of the Wagyu. Polpette is the Italian word for meatball and this dish celebrates classic flavours. Serve the polpette with linguine, penne or spaghetti if desired or simply simmered in the roasted tomato sauce.

Photograph courtesy of Georgia East

Prep time: 15 mins /Cook time: 30 mins /Serves: 4-6

You will need:

500g L.A. Farms Wagyu Mince

1-2 cloves of garlic

5 sprigs of fresh oregano

800g tomatoes, halved or quartered

1 large bulb of garlic

2 red onions, peeled and thickly sliced

2-4 brown anchovy fillets in oil (optional)

1 tablespoon of tomato paste

Coarse ground sea salt and black pepper

Olive oil

Grated Parmesan, for serving

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grate or crush the garlic into a mixing bowl. Strip the leaves off 1-2 sprigs of oregano and finely chop, adding to the garlic. Remove the wagyu mince from its packaging and add to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper and use a spoon to loosely combine – overmixing will result in a dense meatball. Form the mixture into 6-12 large meatballs and arrange on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the polpette are cooked through.

For the sauce, scatter the chopped tomatoes and onions over a lined baking sheet and drape over the brown anchovy fillets. Slice off the top of the garlic bulb and add to the tomatoes and onions. Drizzle over some of the oil from the anchovies and tuck a few oregano sprigs in between. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle over a little olive oil. Roast in the oven (at the same time as the polpette) for 25-30 minutes or until soft and slightly caramelised. Use a fork to extract the roasted garlic from the peel and transfer along with the roasted tomato, onion and tomato paste to a liquidiser or use a stick blender to blitz until smooth. If the sauce is too thick, add a little water or stock to thin it out. Season the sauce to taste and gently keep warm over low heat.

Add the wagyu polpette to the sauce to warm through and serve topped with grated Parmesan and fresh basil or oregano.

Cook’s Tip:

Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene – an antioxidant linked to many health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. Tomatoes are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. Try and use the ripest tomatoes you can find for roasting.

Photograph courtesy of Georgia East