“These are great with spaghetti, or simply tossed through this rich tomato sauce. ”
- 1 large fennel bulb , or 2 small (400g)
- extra virgin olive oil
- 20 g pine nuts
- 20 g pumpkin seeds
- 3 cloves of garlic
- ½ a fresh red chilli
- 50 g Parmesan cheese
- 100 g breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg yolk
- ½ a bunch of fresh parsley , (15g)
- 1 x 400g tin of quality plum tomatoes
- balsamic vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
- Trim and cut the fennel into 2-3cm wedges (reserving the fronds) and lay out in a roasting tray. Add a splash of oil, season, then roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle over the pine nuts and pumpkin seeds, and pop back in the oven for 8 minutes, until the fennel is cooked through. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
- Peel the garlic and deseed and roughly chop the chilli. Blitz 2 of the garlic cloves and the chilli in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the fennel, pine nuts and pumpkin seeds, then pulse again until chopped but still quite chunky.
- Grate in the Parmesan, then add the breadcrumbs, egg yolk and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Pulse until everything just comes together.
- Drizzle a roasting tray with olive oil. With wet hands, roll the mixture into about 20 walnut-sized balls, then place on the tray and leave in the fridge for 15 minutes. Preheat your oven again to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.
- Drizzle the polpette with oil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the balls are golden and crisp.
- While they are cooking, make a tomato sauce. Place a medium-sized, non-stick pan over a medium heat and pour in a glug of oil. Finely slice the remaining garlic clove, finely chop the parsley stalks (reserving the leaves for later) and add both to the pan. Fry for 1 minute before scrunching in the tinned tomatoes.
- Fill the tin halfway with water and add, along with a splash of balsamic, then gently bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook over a low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until thickened.
- Pour the sauce into a food processor and blitz until smooth, then return to the pan and keep warm until needed.
- Divide the sauce between plates, arrange the polpette on top, chop and sprinkle over the reserved parsley leaves and fennel fronds, and serve.
Source: Jamie Oliver