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Simple Italian: Tomato and Meatball Bake with Polenta

  • Author: Matt Robinson


A simple to make, hearty meal that can be spruced up with new herbs or mushrooms when you are the mood.




  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ cup 2 oz. leeks
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese (divided use)
  • 1 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef

Tomato Sauce

  • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 2 14.5 oz. diced tomato (drained)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley


  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups polenta


  1. Preparation: Heat oven to 450 degrees F.

To make meatballs:

  1. Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Add in leeks and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly. In a bowl combine ½ cup parmesan cheese, plain bread crumbs, salt, milk, Worcestershire sauce and eggs; mix to blend. Add in ground beef, using a sturdy spatula or a wooden spoon mix to combine. Scoop out mixture with a one-ounce cookie scoop or ice cream scoop and form 1½ inch meat balls. Place meatballs in an oven proof skillet or saute pan. Set aside.

To make tomato sauce:

  1. In a bowl mix together crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Add mixture to pan with meatballs.
  2. Transfer pan to oven and bake for 20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parsley and remaining ¼ cup grated parmesan.

To make polenta:

  1. Add milk and stock into a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Gradually whisk in polenta. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently until mixture thickens, about 20-25 minutes. Turn off heat and add in parmesan cheese.
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