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Serves 4

You will need:
1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1 small red onion, finely chopped, divided
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1–2 teaspoons hot sauce, whatever kind you like best
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium head fennel
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup whole almonds
1 pound cooked pasta (I used penne)
1 cup grated Parmesan
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil, for serving
  1. Mix ground meat, half the onion, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and hot sauce.
  2. Roll into 8 large meatballs.
  3. Sauté the meatballs in butter until done and golden, 12–15 minutes.
  4. Thinly slice the fennel and finely chop 1/2 cup of the fronds.
  5. Heat the oil in a skillet, and sauté remaining onions and fennel until soft. Add nuts, and cook for another 2 minutes.
  6. Mix the fennel into the pasta, and add Parmesan, and some extra virgin olive oil.
  7. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with Parmesan on the side and a green salad.


Did you know that you can also use fennel fronds, not just the bulb? They have a glorious herbaceous flavor! I couldn’t resist making fennel the star of this quick and sophisticated weeknight pasta.

Photography by Paul Lowe

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