Lamb, fennel and anchovy meatballs

Helen Graves serves up an inventive lamb and anchovy meatball recipe, served in a rich tomato sauce that offers a great counterpart to the deeply savoury meatballs. Serve with spaghetti or stuffed into flatbread for a fun, delicious meal.

First published in 2018

Spaghetti and meatballs is a classic Italian-American dish and this is a fun variation. The fennel and anchovies really pump up the flavour of the meatballs, which you could serve with flatbreads or a vegetable side dish as well as other pasta shapes.




Tomato sauce


To serve


Make the sauce by softening the onion in the olive oil until soft but not coloured. Add the chilli flakes and tomato purée and cook, stirring for a minute or so
Add the white wine and let it bubble. Add the chicken stock, tinned tomatoes, bay leaves and some salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and leave to cook with the lid on (leave a small gap) for 20 minutes. Check the seasoning
Make the meatballs by combining the bread with the milk and mashing to a paste with a fork
Combine this with the minced lamb, fennel seeds, garlic, anchovies and lemon zest. Check the seasoning by frying a small amount in a frying pan. You probably won’t need any salt as the anchovies are salty
Form into 20 golf ball-sized meatballs
Colour the meatballs in a frying pan until browned (but not cooked through). Add to the sauce and simmer gently for 5 minutes
Serve with spaghetti or flatbreads, scattered with the chopped parsley

Helen Graves is Head of Content at Great British Chefs. She's also the author of the cookbook LIVE FIRE: Seasonal Barbecue Recipes and Stories of Live Fire Traditions, Old and New, and the editor of Pit, an independent magazine with roots in live fire cooking.

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