Food, Main courses, Recipes

Roast fennel and pork polpette

May 21, 2015

The roasted fennel in these pork polpette gives this dish a wonderful sweetness and an extra bit of Italian classic.

Last month I was reading the Italian issue of Jamie’s magazine. CB and I have a little (read a huge) fondness for Italy and Italian food so he picked up this Italian special version hoping it would inspire me for dinner.

The weather here has been horrible this whole month. I can’t actually believe it’s May it’s been that cold, windy and rainy. I’m beginning to think summer has bypassed Scotland.

So I was looking for something nice and comforting on a cold evening. I spotted these roasted fennel polpette and thought they would be perfect, except that they were vegetarian. While CB is getting better at eating the odd vegetarian meal he doesn’t really like vegetarian versions of things that should be meaty. I can’t say I blame him really.

Pork and fennel work so well together so it was the natural choice to add to these meatballs. And they turned out deliciously. Often meatballs can be a little dry but these are so moist because of the fennel.

There’s a common perception that meatballs should be served with spaghetti, Lady & the Tramp anyone? However anymore who’s ever ate meatball and spaghetti should know they don’t work well together. You have to cut the meatball with a knife and then use your fork for the spaghetti, total mess. Side note – save spaghetti for pasta sauces without much stuff so your not left with it at the bottom of the pasta bowl once all your spaghetti has gone!

Traditionally meatballs were a peasants dish and hence served with another peasants dish – polenta.

If you’ve never tried polenta you must. It does require a fair amount of flavouring, usually in the form of Parmesan, but the flavour and texture is perfect with the meatballs.

Inspired by a recipe from Jamie’s magazine.

Linking up with: Patisserie Makes Perfect for #cookblogshare

Roast fennel and pork polpette
Serves 4
Write a review
Save Recipe
  1. 1 large fennel bulb
  2. Salt and pepper
  3. Olive oil
  4. 50 grams walnuts
  5. 500 grams mince pork
  6. 50 grams Parmesan
  7. Small handful of parsley
  8. 50 grams breadcrumbs
  9. 1 egg
Tomato sauce
  1. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  2. 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  3. 400 gram tin of chopped tomatoes
  4. 200ml water
  5. 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  1. 800ml water
  2. 200 grams quick cook polenta
  3. 2 tablespoons butter
  4. 50 grams Parmesan, grated
  1. Cut the fennel into quarters and drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Place into a fan oven heated to 180 degrees and roast for 20-30 minutes, turning occasionally. Leave to cool.
  2. Cut the root off the fennel and add to a food processor with the walnuts and pulse. Add the pork, breadcrumbs, parsley and Parmesan, season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Pulse again until well combined, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides. Add the egg and mix again. Remove from the food processor and place into a bowl. Make sure everything is mixed throughly.
  3. Coat a baking sheet well with oil and roll the mixture into little bite size balls. I managed to get 40. Space them out on the tray and bake in a fan oven at 180 degrees for 20-25 minutes until brown. Turn the tray occasionally so they cook evenly.
  4. When the meatballs are in the oven, make your sauce by combining all the ingredients in a pan over a medium heat. Leave to simmer until thickened and reduced. This will take about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally so the sauce does not burn. Once ready, blend.
  5. As the polenta only takes a minute to cook. Make sure your sauce and meatballs are ready. Boil the water in the pan and add a pinch of salt. Add the polenta and lower the heat. Stir continuously for one minute until cooked. Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir well and serve immediately.
Adapted from Jamie's Magazine (April 2015 edition)
Adapted from Jamie's Magazine (April 2015 edition)
a girl & her home

You Might Also Like

  • Rebecca Goodman

    Looks delicious I love the sound of fennel in the meatballs what a great addition and I agree with you about the spaghetti. I think polenta is a much better match.

    • Laura @ a girl & her home

      It’s definitely underrated but so much easier to eat with meatballs!

  • Kirsty W

    These sound gorgeous! I only tried fennel for the first time about 3 years ago and can’t believe it took me so long. Definitely going to give these a go soon!

    • Laura @ a girl & her home

      Thanks! It’s probably one of my favourite vegetables. It’s amazing how it can taste so different between raw and cooked.

  • PatisserieMakesPerfect

    Oh wow, this looks so tasty. I absolutely love fennel. Meatballs are also a weakness of mine too. I really love the pictures and it’s so nice to see them served with polenta. Thanks for linking to #CookBlogShare

    • Laura @ a girl & her home

      Thanks! I love fennel too and it gives these already delicious meatballs such a great taste!