Totoro’s Makkuro kurosuke Italian meatballs recipe

I made some meatballs from scratch last week, and added a quick decoration to turn them into the soot spirits from My Neighbor Totoro, Makkuro kurosuke. I also made the marinara sauce from scratch, the recipe is below. We had some country whole-grain bread to dip in the marinara sauce as well, so yummy!

I love how the meatballs had turned out, they were very flavourful and still moist, and not hardened on the outside. It is important not to over handle the meat when mixing and shaping the meatballs mixture.

I had wanted to buy a jar of ready-made marinara sauce, but when I noticed that a jar of marinara sauce cost more than double of 2 cans of tomatoes, I decided to make my own sauce instead.

Totoro's Makkuro kurosuke Italian meatballs recipe

Totoro’s Makkuro kurosuke Italian meatballs recipe

Recipe for meatballs

  • 450g minced beef
  • half a large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup panko crumbs
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp onions, finely chopped

Mix the ingredients gently with your hands, until just combined. If you do not like to handle raw meat like me, this is when disposable food gloves come in handy. 🙂

Preheat oven to 200 degree Celsius, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Gently shape the meatball mixture into 1.5 inch rounds, being careful not to compact the mixture (unlike making burger patties).

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until lightly browned.

Recipe for marinara sauce

  • 2 cans of tomatoes
  • Handful of chopped onions
  • Handful of chopped garlic
  • Seasoning – salt and pepper
  • Herbs – oregano, rosemary and basil
  • 2 tsp of sugar (optional)

Sauté the onions and garlic in a frying pan, then add the 2 cans of tomatoes inside, gently breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon as it is added in.

Add the herbs (except basil) and seasoning, and simmer for 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly. Adjust the quantities of seasoning and herbs to your taste. I added a bit of sugar as I felt the sauce tasted a bit too acidic without some sugar.

Add in the finely chopped basil leaves right before serving.


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