If just simply knowing you are now free to visit an IKEA purely in pursuit of their meatballs, fills you with a wider sense of ease and relaxation, then we are on the same page.
In celebration of this newfound freedom, I set about perfecting a recipe for pork & beef meatballs with toasted fennel and parma ham.
This way, if you prefer to spend your time enjoying other pub-related freedoms rather than traversing a maze of the latest Scandinavian homeware trends, you don’t have to miss out on all the meatball festivities.
I’ll be honest though, and admit I can’t offer any flatpack furniture – that’s not really my thing – but I can provide two harmonic ensembles that require no instructions whatsoever.
Shopping list (serves 4)
Pork & beef mince x 500g
Egg x 1
Breadcrumbs x 2 tbsp
Chives (very finely chopped) x 20g
Thyme leaves (finely chopped) x 10g
White onion (finely chopped) x 1
Garlic cloves (minced) x 4
Parma ham (finely chopped) x 80g
Fennel seeds x 1 tsbp
Bucatini or spaghetti x 300g
Parsley (very finely chopped) x 60g
Shallots (very finely chopped) x 2
garlic cloves (minced) x 2
Extra virgin olive oil
White wine x 100ml
Zest of 1 lemon
Squeeze of lemon juice
In a large pan, gently fry the white onion in a glug of oil until it begins to caramelise, adding the garlic just as it starts to colour. Continue to cook over a low heat for another five minutes, and then add to a large mixing bowl with the thyme, chives and a good grinding of black pepper.
In the same pan, keep the heat low and fry the fennel seeds and parma ham for 10 minutes, until both are well browned and toasted. Now add to the mixing bowl and allow the contents of the bowl to cool for 10 minutes.
Add the egg, breadcrumbs and mince. Using your hands, mix it all together thoroughly. Roll and shape the mixture into 12 even meatballs.
Turn your oven to 180°C (fan)/200°C.
Bring a large saucepan of well-salted water to the boil.
In a large pan, fry the meatballs for three minutes over a medium heat, on two sides. Remove from the pan and place into the hot oven for a further four minutes.
At this point, add the pasta to the boiling water. Cook for nine minutes.
In the same pan, fry off the shallots and garlic with a glug of oil over a high heat for around five minutes.
Season well, and add the white wine with a pinch of the parsley. Reduce completely, and then add the pasta with around three tablespoons of the pasta water.
Add the parsley and lemon zest, before mixing well with a splash of the extra virgin olive oil.
Serve with the meatballs, a dusting of lemon zest and another generous drizzle of the olive oil. Squeeze over some lemon juice to finish.