Roasted tomatoes are a beautiful thing, and really simple to make into a tasty sauce (sugo). I love roasting them to bring out their inherent sweetness, and with the addition of herbs, balsamic & little sugar takes them to a whole new level.
One of my favourites recipes to accompany a roast tomato sugo is pork and fennel meatballs. You can't beat this combination for a sunday supper, or in fact any day of the week. It's a super quick meal if you have your sugo and uncooked meatballs already made up and stored in the freezer. Give it a go - and give your taste buds a party!
PORK & FENNEL MEATBALLS WITH TOMATO SUGO
1kg vine-ripe tomatoes, halved
½ garlic bulb, broken into cloves (skin on)
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 fresh oregano sprig
2 fresh thyme sprigs
30ml olive oil
1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon caster sugar
salt & pepper to season
Pork & Fennel Meatballs
1½ cups fresh white breadcrumbs
½ cup milk
1 kg pork mince
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
4 anchovy fillets, chopped
sea salt & cracked black pepper extra virgin olive oil
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
Preheat oven to 180°C. Place tomatoes on a large baking dish lined with baking paper, along with the garlic, herbs, oil and balsamic. Sprinkle with sugar, season with salt and pepper, then toss to coat. Turn tomatoes cut-side up, then roast for 1 hour or until tomatoes and garlic are softened. Cool, then peel tomatoes and garlic. Discard herb stalks. Whiz in a processor or blender to a coarse puree, then adjust seasoning. Store in sealed containers in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Pork & Fennel Meatballs
Place the breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl and mix well to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes or until the milk is absorbed. Add the pork mince, eggs, garlic, fennel seeds, anchovies, salt and pepper and mix well to combine. Using wet hands, roll generous tablespoons of the mixture into small balls.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Spread 1 tablespoon of the oil on the bottom of a roasting pan. Add meatballs and cook in the oven, turning frequently, for 10 - 15 minutes or until browned. Remove from the oven and set aside to keep warm.
Place halved cherry tomatoes in a baking dish and roast in the oven for 5 - 10 minutes at 200°C. Cook enough spaghetti for 4 in salted boiling water till al dente. Drain spaghetti and add to a heated serving dish, along with the cooked meatballs and cherry tomatoes. Heat the tomato sugo, and drizzle over the meatballs, tomatoes and pasta. Top with dollops of pesto and fresh herbs.
All Images © Deborah Aspray - Motif Lifestyle Images Ltd 2018