Sometimes you taste a recipe that you just have to share. This delicious main course was made for me recently and I enjoyed it so much that I told all my friends about it!
It occurred to me that it would make a great journal article, so I got in touch with Florence Blair who originally put the recipe together.
Florence is a freelance assistant food stylist, recipe tester and recipe developer based in London. She has her own monthly newsletter including seasonal recipes and other food bits and bobs and this was one of the recipes that she recently posted.
I love it because the polpette have a really good texture and are nicely filling, you really feel like you have eaten something hearty.
So, try this as an alternative to other plant based meals at this time of year, when comfort food is at a premium, I highly recommend it!
Cavolo Nero Polpette
Makes 12 polpette (enough for 4 people)
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 banana shallots
- 200g cavolo nero
- 50g fresh breadcrumbs
- 30g parmesan
- 1 garlic clove
- Zest of a lemon
- 2 eggs
Finely chop the shallots and finely shred the cavolo nero.
Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large heavy based saucepan over a medium heat. Once shimmering, add the shallots, a good pinch of salt and lots of black pepper. Fry for 7 minutes until soft and lightly golden then add the shredded cavolo nero and cook for approximately 3-4 minutes until completely wilted.
Transfer to a chopping board.
Return the pan to the heat, add the remaining tbsp olive oil and breadcrumbs. Gently fry for 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly, until deeply golden and toasted. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Very finely chop the shallot and cavolo nero mixture then add to the mixing bowl. Grate in the parmesan, garlic clove, and lemon zest. Crack in the eggs and season with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well then refrigerate while you make the tomato and bay sauce (recipe below); putting the mixture in the fridge at this stage makes the shaping process much easier.
When your sauce is nearly ready, preheat the oven to 200°C. Divide and roll the mixture into 12 balls, approximately the size of a golf ball. Place on a lined baking tray and bake for 14-15 minutes until golden.
Tomato and Bay Sauce
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
- 3 banana shallots
- 3 large garlic cloves
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 2x 400g tins plum or chopped tomatoes
Finely slice the shallots and garlic cloves. Tear and scrunch the bay leaves.
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy based saucepan, once shimmering add the sliced shallots, a big pinch of salt and lots of black pepper. Gently fry over a medium low heat for 15 minutes until deeply golden, stirring every so often and turning the heat down if they are colouring too quickly.
Add the garlic and bay leaves and fry for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the tomato puree and fry for a further 1-2 minutes until the puree is a shade darker. Add the tinned tomatoes and swill each tin around with a good splash of water to get every last bit. Gently simmer over a low heat for 25-30 minutes. Taste for seasoning and remove the bay leaves. Serve with the polpette, a grating of parmesan, big twists of black pepper and a generous trickle of your best olive oil.
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