A Tasty Childhood: Youvarlakia (Greek Meatballs in Tomato Passata)

If you love Greek food, you will love this dish! The mince is infused with fresh herbs and spices, which makes an ordinary meatball turn into an extraordinary Greek meatball! Served on a bed of al dente pasta and you have one very tasty and comforting dish!

I’m heading over to Greece this year – it’s been almost 12 years since we last visited all our relatives and I cannot wait to give them all big hugs and meet my nieces children.

I remember when I first visited them back in 1995, my girls were 2, 4 & 6 years old and it was very much a culture shock for me. The streets looked quite run down, the traffic was manic and everyone lived in apartments. The noise was very unnerving and a few days into my trip, I wanted to hop back onto that plane and come home.

What I do love about my trips to Greece is the warm welcome we always receive. No amount of kilometres could separate the love of family whatsoever. We were embraced, fed and they did what they could to have us sleep under their roof.

I’ll never forget sitting down to a bowl of spaghetti bolognaise. It was the biggest serving I’d ever been given! And my girls, they were given big serves also. That’s what I love about my culture, kids are not seated anywhere else, or give a sandwich or heaven forbid, some warmed up frozen fish fingers!!! No, we are all equal when it comes to food, we all eat at the same table from the same menu!

And that’s how it is with my little grandie. 

When I cook dinner for the family, Florence will eat what we are eating…and she can have as much as she likes! Knowing I was looking after her this week, I decided I’d introduce her to one of my favourite dishes, Youvarlakia.

This dish is so easy to make, really. Like pretty much all of my recipes in my cookbook – In Sofia’s Kitchen: Mediterranean Flavours Down Under are easy to follow. This dish is made from scratch; even the tomato passata is made from scratch using tomatoes and herbs from our organic garden. I believe that is the secret to deliciously tasting food! And the health benefits are amazing!

I always use lamb mince because in my opinion, it is more flavoursome and when I lightly sauté the onion with garlic and spices, the mince is infused with the spices, giving the mince a rich and tasty flavour.

And if you have passata already made up and in your freezer, just pull it out, defrost and warm in a saucepan over low heat. Once thawed and heated through, you can add the meatballs to cook. They will only take around 20 minutes, so now’s a good time to get the water on and boiling so you can cook the pasta.

Once pasta is cooked and drained, serve up in bowls and top with Youvarlakia, crumble feta on top and be ready to hear all the ooohs and ahhhs from your family and friends.

Full recipe is available in my cookbook – page 97 and if you haven’t yet purchased it, go onto my website www.insofiaskitchen.com.au/store and grab a copy today!