Polpettine with fregola and tenderstem broccoli
- First dice the onions, carrots and garlic.
- Heat the olive oil in a nice big soup sized pan and add in the onion. Stir it all up and turn the heat down to medium/low and pop on a nice tight fitting lid. Stir it every minute or so until the onion is nice, soft and translucent. Keep putting the lid back on; it traps in all that tasty steam and stops the onion browning too much.
- Now add in the garlic and carrots, then cook til the carrots are nice and blurry round the edges. Don't forget that lid!
- Meanwhile place the mince in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, dollop in the mustard and ketchup. Mix it all up. Now using wet hands roll the mince into teeny tiny meat balls, about Ferrero Rocher sized. Pop them to one side and have a good mix up of your carroty steamy mix again.
- Add in the thyme, bay leaves and chilli flakes. Cook for a bit longer whilst you do the next bit.
- Grab your broccoli. Remove the dried up sad looking tip from the end of the stem and now you need to remove the nice soft heads of the broccoli - the floret bits. You will be left with the tougher stem part. Stop! Don't throw this, it's damn tasty. Finely slice it along the length so you have teeny little cross sections.
- Halve the cherry tomatoes and add them to the pot with the chopped broccoli stems. Not the florets, hang on to those.
- Pop the lid back on and keep everything ticking away in that tasty steam for a few more minutes. Four or five should do it.
- Now pour yourself a nice glass of white wine, swig down half and pop the other half in with the veg. Turn up the heat a little and get it bubbling. Stick your nose over the pot, it will smell really alcoholic. Once that alcohol smell has disappeared (only a minute or so) then the alcohol content of the wine has evaporated and your left with just the flavour. Now add in the stock.
- Bring the whole lot up to the boil. Drop in the fregola and the meatballs. Turn down the heat so it's just blipping and put the lid back on.
- Simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring every so often. This is a good time to try more of that wine.
- Now add in the tender florets of broccoli and leave to cook for 2-3 minutes while you gather the bowls, cutlery and chunks of bread for dipping.
- Taste before serving, adding salt and pepper if necessary.
- Try other vegetables, courgettes would work well.
- Ditch the pasta for cannelini beans for a gluten free version.