SAGE, SAGE SAGE!
Giving you all the autumn/ winter vibes in every single forkful, this pasta dish is packed with the flavours of sage, cracked black pepper and will transport you to the land of sage and onion stuffing but in PASTA format! I mean what more could you want?
INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED
35g Walnuts (25g used for meatballs)
50 g Pine nuts
Fresh sage leaves to fry, 2 large stalks
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Fresh herbs finely chopped & 1Tbsp sage (dried) for the meatballs
1 Tbsp diced cornichons
1 grated courgette
1 tsp red chilli flakes
250g pork & 250g beef mince
100g Panko breadcrumbs
1 Shallot, chopped finely
½ lemon, zested and juiced
200ml Double Cream
1 Tbsp Flour
Salt & pepper
100 g Parmesan
200g pasta of your choice (sage fusilli used in this dish)
HOW TO MAKE IT
Turn your oven on to 200c, break walnuts into smaller pieces. When the oven has come to temperature, using two small roasting trays, toast the walnuts and the pine nuts separately until they begin to turn lightly golden and are fragrant, about 20 minutes. Take care not to forget about them and cremate them. I’ve done this more times than I care to remember!
Pick the fresh sage leaves from their stalks, melt 1Tbsp butter in a pan until foaming then add 1Tbsp olive oil and fry off the leaves until crisp. Set aside on kitchen paper, make sure you save the butter/ oil to add into the meatball mix
Add one of the garlic cloves, the chopped herbs and the dried sage in a large bowl, mix in the finely chopped (now cooled) walnuts, diced cornichons, grated courgette, 2 tsp salt, a generous grind of pepper, 1 tsp chilli flakes, reserved sage leaf butter/ oil and the egg. Mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula to combine
Add the panko, pork and beef then mix to combine by gently folding all the ingredients together, making sure you get a good, even distribution of all the ingredients throughout the meatballs before scooping out onto a tray lined with parchment paper. Don’t be tempted to overmix or squeeze the mixture too much. If you have an ice-cream scoop then this is the PERFECT way to make the meatballs, super easy and they are the ideal size
If not cooking straight away, cover the meatballs and refrigerate
When ready, bring the oven up to 225c, put a large pan of water on for the pasta and get a saute/ deep skillet pan ready to make the sage and cream sauce
Meatballs will take about 10-12 minutes, drizzle oil onto a rimmed baking tray then add the meatballs, tossing to coat then bake in the oven. Give the tray a shake after about 5 minutes by which time the meatballs should have started to develop a nice browned exterior in the hot oven
Make the sage and cream sauce, melt 1Tbsp butter in the pan until foaming, fry the finely chopped shallot until it's softened and is translucent, add the other garlic clove and cook for 20 seconds, stirring to ensure the garlic doesn't catch on the heat and burn. Add 1Tbsp flour, keep stirring to combine and cook out the raw flour taste before pouring in the cream/ milk and simmer for 1-2 minutes remembering to keep stirring to create a silky smooth consistency.
Cook the pasta for 2 minutes under the recommended time as you'll add the pasta to the sauce to finish off. When cooked, add to the sauce with ¼ cup pasta water (you can add a little more if the sauce seems too thick), add parmesan and 1 tsp dried sage, 1Tbsp lemon juice and then season with a little more salt and pepper to taste
Serve immediately with the meatballs scattered on top under a blanket of (yes, more!) Parmesan and scattering of the toasted nuts and crispy fried sage leaves