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Pork & Fennel Meatballs with Casarecce & Catalan Salad

A tasty recipe for the whole family.

Pork & Fennel Meatballs with Casarecce & Catalan Salad

Serves 6 (makes 30 balls)

Meatballs
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bulb fennel (250g), trimmed and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp fennel seeds
750g pork mince
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
½ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 egg, lightly beaten

Pasta & Tomato Sauce
375g casarecce pasta
6 anchovies, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ tsp chilli flakes
1kg vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
1 cup parmesan cheese, shaved
½ cup basil leaves, to serve

Catalan Salad
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tbsp seeded mustard
2 tsp honey
2 blood oranges, segmented
150g baby spinach
½ cup kalamata olives
⅓ cup pine nuts, toasted

To make meatballs, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add fennel, garlic and fennel seeds. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until tender. Remove to a large bowl. Cool. Add mince, breadcrumbs, parmesan and egg. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Roll heaped tablespoons of mixture into balls. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat a large flameproof non-stick roasting pan over a medium heat. Add meatballs. Cook, turning occasionally for 8 minutes or until golden. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 180˚C. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain. Add anchovies, garlic and chilli to pan. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes. Add meatballs and pasta. Toss gently. Bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with shaved parmesan. Cook for a further 5 minutes, or until golden and bubbling. Scatter with basil.

Meanwhile, to make Catalan Salad, whisk oil, vinegar, mustard and honey in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Combine remaining ingredients in a serving bowl. Pour over dressing.

Serve meatballs with salad.

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