6 tbsp milk
1 thick slice of white bread, crusts removed
300g minced beef
200g minced pork
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 tsp fennel seeds, toasted (optional)
Olive oil, to fry
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 red chilli, finely diced
1 can chopped tomatoes
Spaghetti/Linguine to serve (to appetitie!)
1. Pour the milk into a shallow bowl and add the bread. Leave to soak for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put the other ingredients, except for the oil, into a large bowl, season well, and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined.
2. Mash the bread into a milky paste with a fork and then add it to meatball mixture and mix in well. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat and fry 1 tsp of the mixture until cooked through. Allow to cool slightly, and then taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
3. Shape the mixture into balls – I like to make them the size of a chocolate truffle – add another 2 tbsp olive oil to the pan, and then fry the meatballs in batches until nicely caramelised all over, then turn down the heat and fry more gently until cooked through.
1. Fry the Onion, adding the garlic and chilli once it has softened somewhat
2. Add the tomatoes, stir bring to a simmer and let stew for 20 minutes of so for the flavours to devlop (make the sauce first and let it simmer as you make the meatballs)
Serve with Spaghetti, meatballs on top and red sauce poured over both.
Once again a recipe chosen by the availability of ingredients - and a long-held wish to try this american-italian classic. The ingredient in question was prok mince - I had half a packet (250g) left over from making this very tasty orzotto (which I can thoroughly recommend if you have some pork mince left over after you have made these...
Meatballs tend to be made with minced beef but, if you go back to sources like Anna del Conte they would be a mix of pork and beef. I am not sure why this came about - the pork with its higher fat content tends to keep the whole lot more moist and less dense I guess, which makes the mouth feel a lot better. Anyway I wanted to try and having scoured the web found that the Guardian had done one of its "How to make perfect..." Meatballs. So I read this and decided to go with her recipe. She did not include a recipe for the "red sauce" though so I made a tomato sauce to go with it, but spiced it up with some red chilli, to prevent an overall blandness which might have otherwise crept in.
The Guardian recipe included fennel seeds, of which I am a great fan especially with Pork but the quantity she used (copied below) was for my mind a bit OTT, overpowering the pork and beef. I would include them for the aniseed hit, but probably cut the quantity in half so it is a background rather than dominant note.
I served these and the tomato sauce with Linguine (lacking spaghetti) and it was fine. The Boy and the Middle Girl were the only takers that evening and I think they enjoyed them - although if you break the flavour profile down it isn't a million miles from any other pasta and mince. Still at least I tried!