This recipes looks to the flavours of our Southern Italian friends. Traditionally, pork is seasoned with fennel seeds that have an almost aniseed-like, slightly sweet flavour, and dried chilli. This particularly excellent flavour combination also happens to be one of my favourites. To make this rustic, easy to whip up dish, I’ve suggested the use of casarecce, a short dried pasta originally from Sicily that curls in on itself, but do feel free to use any other pasta you think may be appropriate.
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 300 g pork shoulder, minced
- 1 cup tomato polpa
- ¾ cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 380 g casarecce
- 80 g shaved parmesan
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.
Have a large pot of boiling salted water on to cook the pasta before you begin the sauce.
Place a large shallow pan over a gentle heat; throw in a good dash of oil, the fennel seeds and chilli flakes. Fry them very gently stirring constantly, until they start to sizzle and release their aromas.
At this stage, quickly add the garlic, give it all a quick stir and then raise the heat to high and add in the pork mince and some seasoning. Use a wooden spoon quite forcefully to break up the mince and combine all the ingredients. At this stage, you want to spread out the mince, leave it to brown a little. It’s fine if the mince has a few clumpy bits.
While the pork is browning, get your pasta cooking in the salted water, casarecce takes about 8-10 minutes to cook.
Once you are satisfied that the mix has a little colour and is almost cooked, add in the polpa and the stock. Give it another stir, turn down the heat, taste for seasoning and wait for your pasta to cook.
Once the pasta is ready, add a couple of spoonfuls of the cooking water and the strained casarecce to your sauce. Give it a good mix and let it simmer for a couple of minutes before serving it into bowls.
Top with a drizzle of olive oil and the shaved parmesan.
• Feel free to add extra chilli (I would).
Photographs by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Suresh Watson.
Recycled glass tumblers in olive green all from Koskela.