Pic of Pork, fennel and cider meatballs

Pork, fennel and cider meatballs

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Meat mains

Pork, fennel and cider meatballs

Main Serves 2 30 min
Fennel and pork is a classic combination; the anise flavours are mellowed by cooking. Cider adds extra depth and sweetness. Using sausages instead of making meatballs saves time, making this a quick supper option.

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion
  • 1 fennel
  • oil for frying
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 4 pork sausages
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 100ml cider
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 200g linguine
  • 25g grated Italian style hard cheese

Method

Prep time: 5 min
Cooking time: 25 min
  • Step 1

    Peel and finely slice the onion. Halve the fennel. Trim away and discard any tough stalks and root, then thinly slice.
  • Step 2

    Heat 2 tbsp oil in a saucepan. Add the onion, fennel and a pinch of salt. Cook on a medium heat for 10 mins, until starting to soften and take on a little colour - make sure they don't burn.
  • Step 3

    Peel and finely chop the garlic. Split the sausage skins and remove the meat. Break each sausage into about 6 chunks; these are your meatballs.
  • Step 4

    Heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan. Fry the meatballs on all sides until nicely browned.
  • Step 5

    Add the garlic and fennel seeds to the fennel. Gently fry for 2 mins. Add the tomato purée, bay leaf and cider. Let the cider bubble away for 1 min. Add the tinned tomatoes. Fill the empty tin ¼ full with water; add that, too.
  • Step 6

    Gently stir the browned meatballs into the tomato and fennel sauce. Season. This needs to simmer for 20 mins so start boiling the linguine after 12 mins.
  • Step 7

    Boil a kettle. Fill a second saucepan with boiled water. Add a good pinch of salt. Heat to a boil on the hob. When the meatballs have about 8 mins left, boil the linguine for 7-8 mins, until just tender, then drain.
  • Step 8

    Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. Serve the linguine with the meatballs and sauce on top. Sprinkle over the cheese to finish.

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