Vick from “Three” the fabulous bistro on the Clifton Road brings us his second weekend recipe. Warm up this dull weekend with spicy Italian meatballs, Mafia style!

So now we’re on the sequels!  Once upon a time my ex-wife wanted to move to Sicily and I wanted to move nowhere, well especially not to be close to her family who had married into the mafia.

This impasse finally saw us move to France as a compromise where I opened my first Restaurant. A crazy, funny, tragic and downright unbelievable story ensued which is documented in a book I am hoping to release later this year. My ex-wife loved Italy and the food so we ate pasta most days some of which I learned on location from her Sicilian family.

The question as to whether carrots have a place in a lasagne has even  created a schism in the Vatican! One of my favourite dishes is pork meatballs in tomato sauce with spaghetti which I will perform for you here, you do know I cook each dish as I write it!

Feel free to embellish on any aspects of this dish but go too far and you can’t hold me responsible if tastes like a Walrus’s oily bits!

The ingredients;

Pork mince or sausage meat (literally): It doesn’t have to be ‘Peppa pig’ or ‘Babe’ but any good porker will do.

Fennel Seeds: They are what they are.

Onions: Spanish or if you prefer not to cry for Argentina then any other variety will be faintly adequate if not down right passable.

Garlic & chilli: As if it wouldn’t make an appearance in one of my recipes!

Herbs: The usual Italian suspects.

Harissa paste: If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, this is tantamount to cheat sauce. This could change your life or at the very least your cooking.

One egg: the fresher the better but you don’t need to float it in water, just check the date!

The Method

Toast the fennel seeds in a dry pan. We don’t want them too dark, just lightly toasted. Put them in a bowl. Place the mince in the same bowl. If you’re using sausages then I suggest Cumberland as these are already seasoned. I would choose something with more than a famous brand’s paltry 50-60% pork.

Cut the end of the sausage and squeeze the contents out. I normally allow one sausage per meatball and about 3 meatballs per person or 2 big ones.

Next, get your sous chef to finely chop the onion and an appropriate amount of garlic, and if you don’t have a sous chef then ask yourself why, failing that get your partner to do it and if you don’t have one of these either, then again, ask yourself why, however we may be able to help with that with our event ‘Single Mingle’ which we hope to host once a month!

Add the garlic and onions to the pork, sprinkle in some mixed Italian herbs, chilli, fresh basil, a teaspoon of harissa paste and the egg. Season generously.

Mix the ingredients together but if you fancy yourself as a Mafiosi boss and don’t want to get your hands dirty then get someone else to do it by threatening to break theirs.

Once it is well mixed then mold the mixture into good sized balls and fry them in a frying pan. I normally fry them in cold pressed rape seed oil as opposed to olive oil. Once these are golden they can be added to a rich tomato sauce and eaten with spaghetti.


Three, Clifton Road, Rugby. 01788 544 782