Recipe: Gizzi Erskine’s New York-Style Meatballs & Gravy With Courgetti

It’s that age-old dilemma, you fancy something naughty, but the guilt that comes with it – not so much. We’re all about keeping it real when it comes to food and nobody does that better than Gizzi Erskine. Her new recipe book ‘Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite’ is packed full of balanced dishes and one of our favourites is this New York-style Meatballs & Gravy with Courgetti.

According to Gizzi: “In this recipe the tomato ‘gravy’ is puréed and the meatballs are a tiny bit bigger than we’re used to. You can serve them with any long pasta but I’ve done them here with courgetti (courgettes turned into ‘spaghetti’ with a spiralizer) that you don’t need to cook because the heat of the meatballs and sauce will warm it through.”

PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes, plus cooling

COOKING TIME: 1½ hours


(serves 4)

For the meatballs

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 450g minced pork
  • 450g minced beef
  • a few thyme sprigs
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • sea salt flakes and freshly
  • ground black pepper

For the tomato sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1kg fresh plum or cherry
  • tomatoes, chopped
  • 1–2 tablespoons red wine or
  • sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ bunch of basil

To serve

  • 100g courgetti per person, or
  • cooked pasta
  • grated Parmesan cheese


  1. To make the meatballs, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan, then add the garlic and onion and sweat for 4–5 minutes, or until soft and a little golden.
  2. Leave to cool. In a bowl, mix together the minced pork and beef with the sweated onion and garlic and the herbs and season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Fry a tiny bit of the meatball mixture and then taste to check the seasoning. If necessary, adjust the seasoning of themeatball mixture.
  4. Divide the mixture into 18 round balls (about 80g each) and refrigerate until needed.
  5. To make the sauce, heat the oil in a medium saucepan and sweat the onions for 10 minutes, or until soft, adding in the garlic for the last minute.
  6. Stir in the tomato purée and cook for few minutes, then add the canned tomatoes and the plum or cherry tomatoes, vinegar and sugar. Cook the sauce slowly for about 1 hour, or until reduced but still a pouring consistency.
  7. At this stage, I like to blitz the sauce in a food processor for an Italian-American-style ‘gravy’ but you don’t have to. Return the sauce to the pan, stir through the basil and season to taste.
  8. While the sauce is cooking, fry off the meatballs in the remaining oil in a heavy-based frying pan until they are browned and cooked through.
  9. Add the meatballs to the ‘gravy’ and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  10. Serve the meatballs and sauce with courgetti and tons of black pepper and grated Parmesan cheese

Recipe taken from:

Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite, by Gizzi Erskine is published by Mitchell Beazley, £25 (
Image credits: The Gaztronome, Home Economists Sofia Johansson, Anna Jones, Emily Ezekiel, Kat Mead.
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