These real meals are ideal for households who love great food, care about what's in their food, but need a fast solution a few nights a week.
Simply heat sauce in fry pan, cook fresh pasta in a big pot of boiling water for three minutes, drain and toss into sauce, adding a big knob of butter to bring it all together. Serve with plenty of herbs and parmesan. Mamma Mia! These will please the children and adults alike.
When it comes to foods from the Mediterranean region, I love dishes that include any form of meatballs, and to have them in a rich tomato sauce, served over fresh, hand-crafted pasta is a treat indeed. My only concern was that I am not a huge fan of fennel. However, I know how well it pairs with pork, so I figured it was a good gamble to take, and in I went.
I set a large pot of well-salted water to the boil, and dropped in the pasta. Being hand-made and fresh, it was a little clumpy to start with, but once it had been in the water for about a minute it loosened up and started to move around, meaning even and thorough cooking. I had set a timer for 3 minutes when I dropped the pasta, and pulled it off the heat on the dot, however I didn't need to drain it and set it aside, because while it was boiling, I had already prepared the sauce.
I heated a pan up and dropped in a generous knob of butter, into which I threw some finely diced onion. I wanted the extra, and I needed to use it up anyway. After a minute, I popped in the pasta sauce and meatballs. They were bigger than I expected, and I wanted bits in every bite if I could, so while they were cooking I broke each one down into smaller chunks. This also sped up the time needed to get the sauce ready for the pasta.
I poured in some of the pasta water, which brought starches in to enhance the shine and colour of the sauce, and gave it a quick stir, then added in the pasta to finish cooking. Very quickly, the pasta was soaking up the colour and flavour from the sauce while it finished cooking. Then it was time to plate up. I topped it off with some finely grated parmesan cheese, but didn't have any fresh herbs on hand so opted for grinds of black pepper and rock salt.
Overall, this was an amazing meal and it was a generous serve for two. I was pleased with the balance of the flavours, though there was still a bit too much fennel coming through for my tastes. That said, it wasn't overpowering or 'too much' in any quantifyable way, and will likely be just fine for the great majority. Taste is a very subjective thing. The meatballs were packed with quality ingredients and I didn't find any hint of that slightly dry taste I get from the usual fillers in the mass-produced versions. True artisan manufacturing here.
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