Comforting kai

Ahhh, spring has sprung in Wellington. And, as per last year and the one before that, we are lulled into a false sense of security by the odd brilliant day. Which, we should know, is followed by several blustery days that necessitate us to keep the electric blankie on the bed.

You would think I’d learn – I once agin planted out the garden over Labour Weekend. Bubby tomato plants keeping warm in (or being crushed by) their cloches. Capsicums huddling against the fence for shelter. And four-year olds going completely berserk at kindergarten. What will last the week – certainly not my sanity if yesterday’s kindy pick up was anything to go by!

With this in mind, today’s recipe offers some nourishment and warmth. It’s also perfect for Coffee Club’s comfort food competition for. And, I reckon, would be a jolly delicious addition to CC’s menu any time.

20141024_184342While Polpette di maiale in salsa di pomodoro sounds exotic (almost anything in Italian does in my book), it is simply pork meatballs in a tomato sauce.

What you’ll need

Olive oil

2 medium onions, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/3 C breadcrumbs

150ml red wine

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 Tbsp parsley, chopped

1 Tbsp oregano, chopped

(Optional: 50g finely sliced spinach)

400-500g minced pork

3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1 egg

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

(Optional: Streaky bacon)

1-2 tins 400g crushed tomatoes

2 bay leaves

How to make it 20141024_174739Heat a splash of oil in a fry pan and sweat the onion for about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Take off the heat and divide the mixture in two and set aside to cool. (As you can see above, I also used a stick of celery, which adds more depth to the flavour.)

Put four tablespoons of the wine in with the breadcrumbs and put to one side.

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Into a medium sized bowl mix the fennel, chopped herbs, pork, cheese, spinach (if using) one portion of the cooled onion/garlic, the breadcrumbs, egg and a good grind of salt and pepper. Combine with your hands until well mixed.

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Roll into even sized balls – I like slightly bigger than golf ball size, but can be larger or smaller to your liking. If you are using bacon, wrap a slice around each polpetto.

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Heat another splash of oil in the pan and brown the polpette on all sides. Remove browned polpette from the pan.

Add the remaining onion/garlic to the pan, heat through for a minute then add the wine. Reduce down the wine for a few minutes then add the tomatoes (I used two tins as I like to have loads of sauce). Pop in the bay leaves and a grind of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.

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Add the polpette back into the sauce and simmer for around 15 minutes until they are cooked through.

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Serve on a bed of soft polenta or the carb of your choice.

I don’t eat pork myself but get real joy making polpette (polpetto is the singular if you’re wondering) as they are always a crowd pleaser. Do give them a try, I’m sure they’ll be a winner in your house too. And, it’s an ideal recipe to double as they are great for lunch the next day or in a wrap for day two dinner.

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