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Cook THIS for dinner tonight

Running out of ideas for midweek meals? Yup, us too. Take inspiration from the hottest new cookbook on the block. Yum!

Jess and Lennie Ware cookbook 'Table Manners'

Everyone loves a meatball, right? (Well, er, except veggies and vegans.) Bung ’em in a tomato sauce and serve with pasta and you’ve got an all-time classic family dinner, although these wondrous ones come with a healthy twist – namely turkey mince. They’re not quite as quick as Muddy’s usual Speedy Suppers – they’ll probably take you 40 mins rather than half an hour – but they’re worth it, honest. The recipe features in gorgeous new book Table Manners, written by pop star Jessie Ware and her social worker mother, Lennie Ware, both excellent home cooks. The duo have an award-winning podcast of the same name in which they invite celebrities – from Ed Sheeran to Nigella Lawson – around for dinner and a chinwag. Can we come next time, please? Over to you, ladies.

Turkey meatballs in tomato sauce

Jess Ware recipe turkey meatballs in tomato sauce served in cast iron pan

These are light as a feather and seem to invite a confession, like when my dear friend the singer/songwriter Sam Smith explained they thought Mexico was in Spain while we fed these beauties to them.


For the meatballs:

50g fresh white breadcrumbs

75ml whole milk

500g minced turkey thighs

2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely grated

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

1 egg, beaten

40g pecorino or Parmesan cheese, finely grated, plus extra to serve

2 tsp finely chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano

Pinch of nutmeg

1 tsp fine salt

freshly ground black pepper

For the tomato sauce:

2 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 heaped tbsp tomato puree

1 tsp paprika (mild or hot)

2 400g tins chopped tomatoes

1 large handful of basil leaves

1 tsp caster sugar

salt and pepper


First, make the tomato sauce. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan or shallow casserole over a medium heat. Add the onion and a good pinch of salt and gently fry for 5–10 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and fry for 2 minutes, then stir in the tomato puree and paprika and cook for another 2 minutes.

Tip in the tomatoes and chopped basil, then gently simmer for 20 minutes. Taste to check the seasoning, adding salt, pepper and a little sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes if needed.

Meanwhile, make the meatballs. Place the breadcrumbs in a large mixing bowl and pour over the milk. Add the turkey, garlic, lemon zest, egg, cheese, oregano, nutmeg, salt and a good grinding of black pepper. Using your hands, gently combine, taking care not to overmix. With wet hands, gently shape the mixture into about 20 small–medium meatballs (about the size of golf balls – roughly 40g each and 5cm in diameter).

Gently drop the meatballs into the simmering sauce, cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes, turning them after about 10 minutes and giving the pan a shake from time to time. Remove the lid and simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve the meatballs with the basil leaves and a grating of pecorino or Parmesan.

Photography by Ola O Smit

Table Manners: The Cookbook by Jessie and Lennie Ware (Ebury Press, £22)

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