pork meatballs, mushroom and orzo

Florence Knight

Hot broth with tender pork and velvety cavolo nero: comfort food for a chilly evening — and all the better for being easy to put together.

serves 2 people (3 meatballs per person)

40g dried porcini
1 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra for your hands
½ white onion, peeled and finely diced
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
30g parmesan
200g pork mince
1 medium egg yolk
1 tsp dijon mustard
500ml chicken stock
100g orzo pasta
4 leaves cavolo nero, washed and any larger stems pulled or cut out
Extra-virgin olive oil

Soak the porcini in 1 litre of boiled water for a minimum of 20 minutes. Drain the mushrooms, squeezing out any excess liquid and reserving the soaking liquid. Finely chop and place in a large bowl.

Heat a small saucepan with the olive oil and stir through the finely diced onion and ¼ tsp salt. Cover with a lid and cook over a low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes before removing the pan from the heat. Spoon the contents of the pan onto a plate and set aside to cool.

Heat the oven to 180C (200C non-fan).

Finely grate 5g of parmesan over the porcini and combine with the pork mince, egg yolk, mustard and cooled onion mixture. Combine until evenly mixed, being careful not to overwork the mince.

Divide the mixture into 50g balls. Roll these between hands lightly greased with olive oil and place onto a baking tray. Cook in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until cooked through.

While the meatballs are cooking, pour the porcini stock through a fine sieve into a large pan. Add the chicken stock to the pan and set over a medium-high heat. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

Once boiling, add the pasta and cook for 7 minutes or until al dente. During the last few minutes of cooking the pasta, lower the cavolo nero leaves into the hot stock to wilt them. Spoon the hot meatballs into bowls and ladle over the pasta, stock and cavolo nero. Drizzle over a little olive oil and the remaining parmesan