- olive oil, for cooking
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 thick slices pancetta, diced
- 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) minced (ground) chicken
- 40 g (1½ oz/½ cup) freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus extra, to serve
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 egg
- 100 g (3½ oz/1 cup) dry breadcrumbs
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) chicken stock
- 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) tomato purée
- 400 g (14 oz) spaghetti or linguine
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4)
Heat a small frying pan over medium–high heat. Add a splash of oil and half of the onion and cook for 3–4 minutes. Add the pancetta and cook until fragrant, stirring often.
Tip the mixture into a bowl and add the chicken, parmesan, nutmeg, egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Mix together well, then roll into small meatballs. Pan-fry the meatballs in the same frying pan in a little oil for 5–6 minutes, turning every 2 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a deep baking dish.
Add the remaining diced onion, with a little oil, to the frying pan and cook until soft. Add the garlic, stock and tomato purée and bring to a simmer. Pour the tomato mixture over the meatballs, cover the baking dish with foil and cook in the oven for 30 minutes.
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil over high heat. Add a good pinch of salt. Add the pasta and stir until the water has returned to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and cook the pasta at a fast simmer for 8 minutes. Drain the pasta well and toss with the sauce. Serve with the freshly grated parmesan.
Recipe from What’s For Dinner by Michele Curtis. Published by Hardie Grant Books.