Pork and lemon meatballs

There are few things more satisfying than spaghetti with meatballs. The crispiness of the seared outside, the softness of the seasoned meat in the middle, all enveloped in a nest of pasta, tomato sauce and lashings of cheese. I prefer this version to the more traditional beef; pork mince is lighter than beef and, when coupled with lemon and parsley, produces something quite refreshing rather than something that will make you want to lie down immediately after finishing it. 

The recipe is based on a Nigel Slater creation. He suggests adding chopped anchovies to the mixture; I heartily agree (they give everything so much more depth of flavour), but unfortunately Jon does not like anchovies, therefore they were banned from the mix. Alas. 

For enough meatballs for four people, mix 500g minced pork with salt and pepper, 70g breadcrumbs, the zest and juice of a lemon, a big handful of chopped parsley, a teaspoon of dried thyme and two tablespoons grated parmesan (and 8 chopped anchovy fillets if you're lucky enough to be cooking for someone who appreciates their salty goodness). Shape into little balls. You can pan-fry them, but I prefer to cook them in the oven, a) to guarantee they're fully cooked through and b) to guarantee they're crispy on all sides. Put them in the oven at 180C for about 15 minutes - keep checking as you don't want them to dry out.

For the tomato sauce, just saute a chopped red onion and three crushed cloves of garlic in some olive oil until soft. Add a couple of tins of chopped tomatoes and some tomato puree, a pinch of sugar and a dash of Worcester sauce, and simmer until thick. Season to taste and serve over the meatballs on top of spaghetti (or penne, for that matter). An immensely satisfying dinner.

(Thank you to Jon for the photos).