Pork and fennel meatball strozzapreti with braised chicory and chilli

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 6 people

  • 1 kg coarsely minced pork shoulder (see note)
  • 1 tbsp each fine sea salt, finely ground black pepper and dry-roasted fennel seeds
  • 200 ml dry white wine
  • For dusting: plain flour
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 500 gm dried strozzapreti
  • To serve: finely grated parmesan, extra-virgin olive oil and crusty bread
  •  
  • Salted chilli
  • 50 gm long red chillies, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sea salt flakes
  •  
  • Braised chicory
  • 100 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 800 gm (about 2 bunches) chicory, trimmed, coarsely chopped
01   For salted chilli, process chilli and salt in a food processor to combine, transfer to a sterile jar and set aside in a cool dark place to ferment (1 week).
02   For braised chicory, heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add onion and stir occasionally until starting to caramelise (8-10 minutes), add chicory and stir until tender (10-12 minutes), season to taste and set aside.
03   Combine pork, salt, pepper, fennel seeds and half the wine in a large bowl, roll into walnut-sized balls and dust with flour. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add meatballs in batches and cook, shaking pan occasionally, until golden (3-4 minutes). Return all meatballs to pan, add garlic and stir occasionally until tender (1-2 minutes), add 1 tbsp salted chilli (reserve remainder for another use) and deglaze pan with remaining wine. Add braised chicory, toss to combine, season to taste and keep warm.
04   Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente (8-10 minutes), drain (reserve 50ml cooking water), and return pasta and reserved cooking water to pan. Add meatball mixture, toss to combine and season to taste. Serve hot, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and scattered with parmesan, with crusty bread.
Note Ask your butcher to prepare the minced pork; it may need to be ordered ahead.

This recipe is from the May 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
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