Pork and fennel meatballs recipe


The tomato sauce does take a little time to cook (you can always use a few store-bought jars of sauce if you're short on time), but the polpette are great fun to make with kids.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 90 minutes

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Serves: 4 people

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For the Polpette
For the Sauce
To Serve


  1. To make the sauce, heat half the oil in a large saucepan and sweat the onion, garlic, salt, pepper and chilli on a medium heat for about 15 minutes. When the onion is transparent, add the fresh tomatoes and the rest of the oil and cook on a low-medium heat fro 15 minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes and bring to a gentle simmer. Leave to bubble on the lowest heat for about 1 hour. Turn off the heat and add the oregano and basil. Taste and see if it needs any sugar. When you're pleased with the taste, blitz with a hand-held blender or in a regular blender until smooth.
  2. Meanwhile, to make the polpette, preheat the oven to 220oC/gas mark 7. Lightly grease a baking tray.
  3. Place the fennel seeds in a dry frying pan set over a medium heat and toast for a few minutes, just until they start to become fragrant. Tip into a pestle and mortar and grind to a powder.
  4. Put the fennel seeds in a large bowl with the pork, breadcrumbs, eggs, chilli flakes and some salt and pepper and mix together thoroughly using your hands. Roll into 45g balls and place them on the greased baking tray. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes, turning once, until they are starting to brown. Finish by poaching the meatballs in the tomato sauce for 10 minutes. Serve with spaghetti or toasted focaccia.

Tip: Break up one or two of the meatballs and stir them into the sauce to add extra texture and flavour.

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