To make the sauce, cut a small cross in the bottom of each tomato, then cut out and discard the stem bases. Place the tomatoes in a large mixing bowl. Pour over enough just-boiled water to cover and leave for 1 minute.
Pour the water away and unrobe the loose skins from the flesh. Chop the tomatoes in no particular fashion other than smallish. Put the oil in a large, shallow ovenproof casserole with a lid. You will know that the oil is hot enough when the tomatoes sizzle when added to the pan. Fry the tomatoes for 2–3 minutes until softened. Add the wine, lemon juice, tomato purée, salt and sugar. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, preheat the oven to 170°C/325ºF/Gas 3 and make the meatballs. Peel and finely chop the shallots and garlic, then fry them in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil until totally soft. Put in a large bowl. Strip the rosemary leaves from the stalks and chop them very finely. Add to the bowl along with the lamb mince, a good grating of nutmeg, the breadcrumbs and milk.Add plenty of salt and a few twists of black pepper.
Use your hands to mix well. It’s worth frying a little of this mix before rolling it so that you can taste it and tweak the seasoning accordingly. When you are happy with the taste, roll the meatballs into about 24 balls between your palms, then roll lightly in seasoned flour.
Fry over a high heat in the 3 tablespoons oil so that they brown quickly on all sides but remain raw in the middle. It is important during this stage that the oil is hot enough and that the meatballs are not all crammed together, so they fry well. Do in batches if necessary.
Nestle the meatballs together in the tomato sauce, add the cinnamon stick, cover with a lid and send to the oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and turn the meatballs over in the sauce. Return to the oven for a further 30 minutes. The meatballs should be very tender and the sauce rich.
Just before serving, make the gremolata. Peel and very finely chop the garlic, then put it in a small bowl. Finely chop the parsley and mix with the garlic and finely grated lemon rind. Scatter generously over the meatballs and sauce with a few splashes of extra virgin excellence to lift the whole dish into another dimension. A good teaspoon or 2 of Parmesan tapped over each bowl is welcome too.
LEFTOVERS: Warm the meatballs and stuff them with sauce into a lightly toasted baguette with American mustard, raw red onion and slices of tomato.