On Sunday night, David, my housemate, and I went to the ‘farewell’ party for 3345, the bar that sits atop the extraordinarily famous Parr Street Studios in Liverpool.
3345 is/was owned by Tom and Carl who I am lucky to count amongst my friends and we also live on the same street which means the occasional blissful late night supper round their kitchen table with Tom on the music selection and Carl whipping up something wonderful. They’re very generous and kind people and they have decided after 10 years to move on to exciting new adventures. 3345 has that wonderful charm of feeling like your curled up in someone’s sitting room, someone very cool and creative, but cosy and full of friendly faces. Whatever it is that they move on to do, I’m certain it will be a great success and will be motivated by the things that formed the ethos of 3345, bonhomie, good hosting and spending time with fun and friendly people.
I had promised David meatballs for a couple of nights so we snuck off early for him to watch Being Human and for me to set about being a domestic goddess in the kitchen. I started by teaching David how to make this, in an effort to prove how easy it is to cook from scratch and how quick it can be, but he soon grew bored of my overuse of the word ‘juncture’ and my impression of Delia, skipping about the kitchen and showing him how things should be done so he disappeared to watch television and I was left chained to the stove!
These meatballs, like many things I cook, are different every time. They could contain a multitude of different herbs and often contain sage and different flavourings. It’s one of those joyful recipes that mean you can use up a load of things that have been lurking about in the fridge. I made my own tomato sauce to serve them with but I cheated with the 3 minute fresh pasta, if you were to cook this on a week night, jarred sauce would be absolutely fine, in fact, I would applaud you.
Meatballs, Tomato Sauce and Linguine
- a pack of good quality pork sausages (about 300g, 6 or 8)
- a bunch of parsley
- a slug of olive oil
- 200g smoked bacon or pancetta
- an inch of red chilli, finely chopped
- the zest and juice of one lemon
- a handful of breadcrumbs
- an egg
- a handful of parmesan
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- salt and pepper
- a crushed garlic clove
- an onion
- a celery stick
- a crushed garlic clove
- a tin of chopped tomatoes
- a slug of sherry vinegar
- a tbsp of brown sugar
- salt and pepper
- a handful of chopped parsley
- 100 ml of veg stock
- a slug of white wine
and some pasta
- In a large frying pan, saute the spring onion and pancetta in olive oil until the pancetta is crispy and bronzed. Remove from the heat and stir through the crushed garlic. The residual heat of the pan will cook the garlic without burning it.
- In a large bowl, remove the casings of the sausages and tip the sausagemeat into the bowl. Add the parsley, chilli, lemon zest and juice, grated parmesan and salt and pepper. Tip in the pancetta, spring onion and garlic.
- Add the breadcrumbs to the bowl and break in the egg. Bind the mixture together, the easiest but definitely not neatest way is with your hands, you can use a spoon but you’ll find it’s so much easier to bind the ingredients by hand. Take a deep breath and get stuck in.
- Once the mixture is well mixed, form meatballs by hand by taking a small chunk of mix and rolling to form a small ball. The size is up to you but for cooking, it’s easier to make sure that they’re a pretty uniform size. Once in ball form, roll in flour.
- Fry the floured meatballs in the same frying pan until golden on both sides, if they start to fall apart, don’t panic, just push them back together with the back of a spoon.
- When browned on all sides, place in an ovenproof dish and pop in an oven at about 180 while you make the sauce and cook the pasta.
- In the same saucepan, throw in the onion and celery and saute these until translucent. Add the handful of parsley and cook for another couple minutes.
- Pour in the wine and stock and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, this will mean all the lovely sugary, crispy residues of your meatballs will flavour the sauce and the slight remnants of flour will help thicken your sauce. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for 10-15 minutes until reduced to a consistency that you like. I like tomato sauce to be quite thick.
- Towards the last couple of minutes, put your pasta on to cook.
- Remove the meatballs and serve them on top of the pasta and sauce with a good handful of parmesan and salt and pepper.