2tablespoonsof breadcrumbs + more to coat the meatballs
2tablespoonsof grated Parmigiano Reggiano
For the tomato sauce
300mlof tomato purée
2tablespoonsof extra virgin olive oil
Some basil leaves
Heat the oven to 200°C. Rinse the eggplant and cut it in a half lengthwise. Place it on a baking tray cut side up and score the flesh in a dimando pattern. Brush with olive oil and a tablespoon of water. Sprinkle with salt and add the garlic cloves, without peeling it.
Roast for about 50 minutes or until the eggplant is golden and so soft that it can be easily emptied with a spoon.
Collect the eggplant flesh in a bowl. Add the garlic pulp, squeezing it out from the peel. Now add the ground beef, the dried oregano, the breadcrumbs and the grated Parmigiano. Season with salt, then add a slightly beaten egg and mix the ingredients thoroughly with your hands to get a homogeneous and dense mixture.
Make now 12 meatballs, shaping them with wet hands or with an ice-cream scooper: I found out that it is the quickest and cleanest way to have meatballs all of the same size.
Coat the meatballs in breadcrumbs, then place them on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil.
Check that your oven is still at 200°C and bake them for about 20 minutes or until golden.
In the meantime, prepare the tomato sauce: in a pan large enough to contain all the meatballs pour two tablespoons of olive oil, then add the garlic, some basil leaves and the tomato purée. Cook for about 10 minutes on low heat. When the meatballs are ready, remove them from the oven and add them into the pan to cook for the last 5 minutes, so that they can absorb the sauce and gain a deeper and sweeter taste.
You can serve them immediately or set aside and warm them up just before bringing them to the table.