About this recipe:Inspired by a dish I had in Italy - pork sausage meatballs flavoured with fennel seeds, cooked simply with tomatoes and peppers and served with penne pasta and fresh crusty bread. A budget meal but not compromised on taste - real tasty peasant style Italian food. Serve fresh crusty bread on the side.
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground with a mortar and pestle
salt and pepper as needed
plain flour for dusting
1 yellow pepper, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
240g penne pasta
basil leaves for garnishing
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Method Prep:15min › Cook:45min › Ready in:1hr
How many meatballs made will depend on the size of your sausages. The aim is to serve 5 to 6 smallish meatballs per person.
Begin by removing the sausage skins from the sausages and placing into a mixing bowl with the fennel, salt and pepper. Mix well to combine. Now shape into meatballs and put onto a plate. Cover and chill for 1/2 hour to firm up.
Remove from the fridge. Heat a large frying pan with olive oil to medium heat. Whisk salt and pepper into flour, and lightly dust the meatballs in seasoned flour. Shake off any excess. Add to the pan and brown well. Turn down the heat and cook until no longer pink at the centre, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat another large deep frying pan with oil. Add the peppers and onions and cook well over fairly high heat - you want to singe the edges as this will add flavour, but be careful not to burn. Turn the heat down to low and add the garlic, cook for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes and seasoning. Drain the meatballs on absorbent paper, then add to the pan with the sauce. Simmer all together for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the pasta. Reserve a couple of tablespoons of cooking water from the pasta when drained.
Toss the pasta with the sausage meatballs and chunky sauce. Add some cooking water if a little too dry. Serve in bowls with torn basil to garnish and freshly ground black pepper.
When shaping the meatballs your hand will become very gooey. Have a cup of water on the side to dunk your fingers in to make the work easier.