Francesco Mazzei’s burrata filled Welsh Lamb meatballs with tomato sauce and basil pesto

  • Prep time 40 mins
  • Cook time 1 hrs
  • Serves 4


  • 500g PGI Welsh Lamb mince
  • 30g parsley
  • 80g Grana Padano PDO cheese
  • 80g Pecorino Romano PDO cheese
  • 250g Burrata di Andria PGI cheese
  • 250g sourdough bread
  • 300ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • Black pepper
  • Salt

For the tomato sauce

  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1kg tomato passata
  • 10 basil leaves
  • Salt

For the pesto

  • 300g basil leaves
  • 80ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 20g Pecorino Romano PDO cheese
  • 20g Grana Padano PDO cheese
  • ½ a garlic clove
  • 20g pine nuts
  • Salt


  1. To make the tomato sauce, chop the onion and garlic and sweat them in a saucepan with some extra virgin olive oil before adding the passata. Season with salt and pepper and add the basil leaves. Simmer for about 1 hour, adding some water if it gets too dry.
  2. While that’s simmering, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large roasting tin. Season the lamb shoulder with salt and pepper and fry it in the oil over a high heat, until nicely seared all over.
  3. Cut the bread into small pieces and soak in the milk until all of it has been absorbed, then squeeze out any excess liquid by hand.
  4. Put the meat in a bowl, add the bread and mix thoroughly. At this point add the Grana Padano, Pecorino, chopped parsley and eggs. Mix well and adjust with salt and pepper.
  5. Shape the mixture into 12 meatballs. Making a small well in the centre of each one, add in a teaspoonful of Burrata cheese and close them up again, being careful they are well sealed so the Burrata won’t leak out.
  6. To make the pesto, quickly blanch the basil leaves in boiling water and cool them down to halt the cooking in iced water. Drain and transfer into a blender. Add all the other pesto ingredients and blitz until everything is well combined. Adjust with salt.
  7. Add the meatballs into the tomato sauce and let them cook thoroughly. Transfer into a serving dish and finish with generous dollops of pesto.
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