Penne con Polpettini, Melanzane & Salvia
Penne with Meatballs, Aubergine and Sage
No, there is nothing wrong with your monitor and no, those are not giant-sized meatballs and penne! The meatballs are barely bite-size and the aubergines are the little babies from the other night's pizza recipe- just about the size of your thumb. But you know what? When people say "size DOES matter", smirking and full of innuendo, we all know very well that even when it comes to that kind of bedroom talk- it ain't what you do- it's the way that you do it!
So stop grinning and start reading and let me tell you how you can still get plenty of satisfaction even from these itsy-bitsy ingredients!
First of all we need to make some very simple meatballs. I made mine out of mixed ground beef and pork, a little chopped onion, fennel seed, paprika, salt and pepper. That easy. Knead the meat and onion together until it begins to blend and bind together- no need for breadcrumbs or egg here. Once that is done, the games can begin!
Start the penne boiling and then turn your attention to the meatballs and get them going in a non-stick pan. Once they begin to sizzle, add a handful of sage leaves, so that they soak up the meat juices and begin to sizzle along too.
Now slice the aubergine lengthways and add it to the meatballs and sage. One aubergine per serving will be more than enough. Season all with salt and pepper and grate generously with nutmeg. Now add crushed garlic and a pinch of sugar and check the pasta- if you have been working swiftly and efficiently it should have been on for 6-7 minutes and be close to ready.
Drain the penne and add them to the frying pan- make sure not to drain off all of the water too thoroughly, so that there is still about a half cupful that goes into the pan with it, so that it can continue to simmer and at the same time, gather up all of the flavor from the meat, garlic, aubergine and sage.
Sprinkle generously with finely chopped parsley and mix well together. After a further 1-2 minutes the water should have evaporated away and your pasta should be ready! Add a light drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle with some salted ricotta, season with freshly ground pepper and be amazed at how much enjoyment you get from those tiny ingredients! Like I said before... it ain't what you do...