I have a small confession to make. I am virtually incapable of following a recipe. Whether I make small changes or big changes, what I produce is never quite what the author intended, for better or for worse (oh I’ve learned my lesson quite a few times). I’m not quite sure why this is, I don’t mean to do it and I’m not what you’d call rebellious by nature. Perhaps the years of graphic design training have taught me to look outside the box, to try and make things different and interesting, and to try to inject my personality and style into everything I do.
Yes, that sounds good, lets stick with that.
When I saw the recipe for pappardelle with a ragu of tiny meatballs in Jamie Oliver’s book Cook With Jamie I was enthralled. I kept the cookbook by my side for days, randomly flicking open to page 92 to admire the photograph yet again. But inevitably, my mind started ticking and I considered other directions in which to take this seemingly wondrous recipe. In the end, my interpretation was hardly recognizable as the original, no offence to Jamie. But he seems like a cool guy, so I doubt he’d mind.
I used pork mince rather than beef for the meatballs. I was a little unsure of how this would work out in the end but I was more than happy with the result. They would also do well on their own with a dipping sauce at a cocktail party. The tomato sauce was rich and garlicky with a hint of red wine, just the way I like it. I only wish I had found some nice basil, because that would have been perfect. My poor little plant died after I ripped all the leaves off for pesto a few months ago!
Unfortunately, Jamie’s photo was much better than mine. It was kind of awkward to be taking photos of my dinner when we had guests. But don’t let that put you off, because everyone agreed that it was delicious.
Spaghetti and Pork Meatballs
Inspired by Jamie Oliver
Meatballs (Makes about 75)
• 750g pork mince
• 2 eggs
• 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
• 2 – 3 teaspoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated
• 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• Salt and pepper
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
• 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
• 3 x 400g cans diced tomatoes
• ½ cup red wine
• 3 tablespoons tomato paste
• 50g butter
• Chilli powder, to taste
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• Parmesan cheese, to serve
1. Combine the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon, or your hands until thoroughly combined. Form meatballs using a teaspoon or small ice cream scoop. Try to keep them uniform in size and shape.
2. Deep fry or shallow fry in batches of 15 – 20 until golden brown and slightly crispy. Drain on paper towels. Set aside. The meatballs can be made a day in advance and stored in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before adding them to the sauce.
3. To make the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan or large frying pan. Add the garlic and sauté. Turn the heat right down, and add the parsley, tomatoes, red wine, tomato paste and butter. Stir slowly to combine ingredients. Add chilli, salt and pepper to taste.
4. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add meatballs. Continue to simmer for a further 30 – 40 minutes.
5. Serve over spaghetti or other long pasta, with Parmesan cheese and crusty bread.