Pork and Fennel Polpette (meatballs)                March 2019

Pork and Fennel Polpette (meatballs)

Meatballs have been around for a long time. Apicius is a collection of Roman cookery recipes, usually thought to have been compiled in the 1st century AD has recipes for meatballs. 

The modern meatball is said to have been brought back to Italy from America at the end of the second world war but im sure they were being eaten in Italy before this.

This Meatball is flavored with Fennel and chili as well as being covered in a rich tomato sauce, you can eat it with some chunks of fresh bread, some pasta or polenta it's a fantastic eat and children of all ages love them

for about 20 meatballs

  • 1kg of minced pork the best you can afford
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • Half tsp chilli flakes 
  • 15g fennel seeds toasted and crushed 
  • Sea salt and black pepper 10 twists
  • 1-liter tomato sauce 

How to make:

Turn the oven on and up to 200c.

Put the pork, eggs, breadcrumbs, chilli, and ground fennel seeds, salt, and pepper into a mixing bowl and mix. I think the hands are best for this.

Shape the meat mixture into 50g balls and put them on a non-stick or oiled baking tray roast in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes until they start to brown then add the to the cooked tomato sauce.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with grated cheese.

Tomato sauce number 2

     1 kg of fresh tomatoes plum would be best. Or  3x400g tins of the best Italian tomatoesyou don’t need to cook them first.

    5 gluggs of olive oil (about 5 tablespoons)

     1 medium onion, finely chopped

     1 medium carrot, finely chopped

     1 medium celery stick, finely chopped

     Sea Salt

     1/2 teaspoon of sugar

How to make:


Wash the tomatoes in cold water cut them up, cook in a large saucepan with the lid on for 10 to 12 minuets, Uncover and cook slowly on a low heat for an hour.


Add the celery, onion, carrot, salt and sugar, cook for 25 minuets on a low heat at a simmer.


Once cooked pass through a moult-legumes or a fine sive to remove the tomatoes skin and seeds. Return to the pan add and cook for ten minuets more. Check seasoning. 


You can use Italian tined tomatoes, use 2x400g tins you don’t need to cook them first. Just put them in the pan with the celery, onion, carrot, salt and sugar.

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Jason’s Wine recommendations

Norma is a tragedia lirica or opera in two acts by Vincenzo Bellini with libretto by Felice Romani after Norma, ou L'infanticide by Alexandre Soumet. It was first produced at La Scala in Milan on 26 December 1831. Wikipedia

It’s robust and bold but has some acidity, a perfect marriage.

Massivo Nero d’Avelo 2016 A deep black/red mouthful of ripe, rich and spicy black fruit.

For this hearty Sicilian mainstay meal you need a robust wine to stand up to the tomatoes. Stay with Sicilian as that’s the homeland choice. Try one of their well known grape varieties, NeroD’Avola. It’s robust and bold but has some acidity, a perfect marriage. 

Massivo Nero d’Avelo 2016 – a deep black/red mouthful of ripe, rich and spicy black fruit. Laithwaites £9.99

Pasta alla Norma is not named after someone’s mother, wife or lover as you might think, but after Bellini's 19th-century opera, Norma, which is widely considered the composer's greatest work.