As a family we love meatballs in sauce but sometimes I want to get away from the rich tomato sauces that the boys favour and this is when I reach for my Balsamic vinegar. By the end of cooking you have a mild vinegar flavour with a lovely sweetness from the onions and Balsamic.
You can make this ahead of time and just do the final simmer or bake before serving.
To make this gluten free I simply use gluten free penne.
1kg minced pork
6 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
salt and pepper
30mls olive oil
4 onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves plus three sprigs
100mls balsamic vinegar
a small handful freshly chopped parsley
Using a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic, fennel, salt and pepper until you have a paste.
In a large bowl, combine the pork, thyme leaves and garlic paste. Use your hands to combine the meat, thyme and paste very well.
Form into small, walnut sized balls, I get around 32 meatballs. Set aside.
In a large oven proof frying pan, heat the oil and add the onions, cook until they are soft.
Tip the onions into a bowl and set aside.
Add a little more oil to the pan if you need it and then add the meatballs, cook over a medium to high heat until they are sealed on all sides.
Return the onions to the pan, add the balsamic vinegar and water and bring up to a simmer, now, you can either cook this on the stove top, around 30 minutes gently bubbling away to reduce the sauce or pop the pan into a preheated, 200 degrees Centigrade, oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Sprinkle with parsley and serve with pasta.