Chilli and Fennel Meatballs with Spaghetti

Meatballs with some kick.

Firstly I want to apologise for not posting on Wednesday. I have had a stinking cold all week and cooking just wasn’t on the agenda. Normal service has now been resumed 🙂

These meatballs were ideal comfort food for me, and the little kick of chilli gave them some nice heat. I love the combination of pork and fennel, and the olives worked really well too. Another great thing is that this doesn’t require any major prep work (apart from forming the meatballs), and it cooks pretty quickly as well. You can form the meatballs in advance if you like – just put them in the fridge on a plate covered in cling wrap.

If you don’t eat pork then you could easily substitute chicken or turkey mince (ground) instead.

Ingredients – serves 4:

  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
  • 500g/1 lb pork mince (ground)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 700g/25 oz tomato passata
  • 250g/9 oz spaghetti
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped, to serve
  • finely grated parmesan, to serve


  • Using a pestle & mortar (or a spice grinder), grind the fennel seeds, chilli powder and a good seasoning of salt and black pepper into a rough powder.
  • Put the pork mince into a medium bowl then add the fennel powder. Mix well to ensure that everything is evenly combined.
  • Form the pork mixture into small meatballs, then place on a plate, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
  • Put the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat then add the meatballs. Cook, carefully turning, for a few minutes until the meatballs are browned on all sides.
  • Add the wine to the pan and bring to the boil for a minute, then add the tomato passata. Bring back to the simmer, then turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pan of boiling salted water according to the packet directions.
  • Once the spaghetti is cooked, use tongs to transfer it to the pan with the meatballs and sauce. Add the halved olives and toss to mix everything together.
  • Cook for a minute to let the spaghetti pick up the flavours of the sauce.
  • Divide between your serving plates and top with fresh parsley and a good amount of grated parmesan.
  • Enjoy!

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4 Responses to Chilli and Fennel Meatballs with Spaghetti

  1. Fennel meatballs! Sounds fantastic! Just what I need right now, with plenty of pasta.

  2. gavball34 says:

    Mmm fennel, nice touch. I will definately be giving this one a whirl in the kitchen.

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