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Pork Meatballs

  • 500g rare breed pork mince
  • 1 small onion, finely grated or minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, finely grated or try Old Winchester
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 60g breadcrumbs, panko crumbs add an extra crunch
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil for frying


  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, ground (adds a unique aroma)
  • A splash of milk (for added moisture)

  1. Prepare the Mixture: In a large bowl, combine the pork mince, grated onion, minced garlic, beaten egg, grated Parmesan, and chopped parsley. If you're using fennel seeds or a splash of milk, now's the time to add them.
  2. Season and Bind: Add the breadcrumbs to the mixture for texture. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Using your hands, gently but thoroughly mix the ingredients until well combined.
  3. Test the Mixture: Before you go all-in, it’s wise to cook a small test meatball. Heat a small pan with a bit of olive oil and cook the test meatball until it's cooked through. Taste it, and adjust your seasoning if necessary.
  4. Shape the Meatballs: Wet your hands slightly to prevent sticking, and shape the mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs. Place them on a tray lined with parchment paper.
  5. Brown the Meatballs: In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs in batches, turning them to get an even colour on all sides. You don't need to cook them through at this stage, just aim for a good crust.
  6. Simmer in Sauce: Once all meatballs are browned, transfer them into your homemade tomato sauce. Let them simmer on low heat for about 20-30 minutes. This will not only cook the meatballs but also allow the flavours to marry with the sauce.
  7. Final Touch: Just before serving, sprinkle some additional grated Parmesan and a smattering of freshly chopped parsley for garnish.
  8. Serve and Enjoy: Serve your meatballs hot, ideally over a bed of al dente pasta, with plenty of your wonderful tomato sauce.

Using an air fryer like the Ninja Foodi is an excellent way to cook meatballs with a healthier twist, as it significantly reduces the amount of oil used in the cooking process. The high-speed air circulation in the appliance also ensures that the meatballs are cooked evenly, giving them a nice, crispy texture on the outside while keeping them juicy on the inside.

Adjustments and Steps for Air Frying:

  1. Preheat the Air Fryer: Before you begin, preheat your air fryer to about 190°C. Preheating ensures that the cooking chamber is at the right temperature for even cooking.
  2. Shape the Meatballs: As per the original recipe, shape your pork mince mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs. Because air fryers cook through circulating hot air, you don't need to worry too much about flattening the meatballs for even cooking.
  3. Prepare the Basket: Lightly spray or brush the air fryer basket with olive oil to prevent sticking. You could also use a piece of parchment paper at the bottom if your air fryer allows it (just make sure it doesn't obstruct the air circulation).
  4. Place the Meatballs: Arrange the meatballs in a single layer in the basket, making sure there is some space between each to allow for good air circulation.
  5. Cooking Time: Cook the meatballs at 190°C for about 12-15 minutes. The exact time might vary depending on the size of your meatballs and the specific model of your air fryer. Halfway through the cooking time, pause the air fryer and turn the meatballs to ensure even cooking and browning.
  6. Check for Doneness: Use a meat thermometer to confirm that the internal temperature of the meatballs has reached at least 74°C, which is the safe temperature for minced pork.
  7. Finish in Sauce: To allow the meatballs to absorb the flavours of your tomato sauce, transfer them from the air fryer to your sauce pot and simmer them together for an additional 10-15 minutes.
  8. Garnish and Serve: As with the stovetop version, a sprinkle of Parmesan and a dash of fresh parsley will elevate your dish to perfection.

Air frying is a splendidly efficient way to get a healthier, flavour-packed meatball dish. It's especially useful for those busy weekdays when you want something delicious without the added fuss or calories.

Shop for Ingredients

Buy Rare Breed Pork MInce

Rare Breed Pork – Mince – 1kg


They can be paired with a plethora of sides to create a balanced and satisfying meal.


  1. Spaghetti or Linguine: The classic choice, best for those who appreciate tradition. A well-cooked al dente pasta will always do your meatballs justice.
  2. Polenta: For a Northern Italian touch, consider creamy polenta. Its smooth texture and cornmeal flavour complement the meatballs wonderfully.
  3. Garlic Bread: A slice or two of crispy garlic bread is ideal for mopping up that rich tomato sauce.
  4. Risotto: A lemon or Parmesan risotto could offer a creamy contrast to the meaty texture of the meatballs.


  1. Steamed Asparagus: Seasoned with a touch of olive oil, salt, and maybe a sprinkle of Parmesan, asparagus can offer a vibrant counterpoint.
  2. Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables: Think aubergines, courgettes, and bell peppers, lightly roasted with olive oil and herbs.
  3. Green Beans Almondine: A touch of sophistication, green beans sautéed with butter and almonds offer both flavour and texture.
  4. Insalata Caprese: Slices of tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil leaves, all drizzled with a fine balsamic glaze.


  1. Caesar Salad: The creamy Caesar dressing and crisp romaine lettuce provide a rich but refreshing side option.
  2. Rocket and Parmesan Salad: A simple, peppery rocket salad topped with shavings of Parmesan can lighten up the meal.

Related Recipes & Guides

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Crispy Pork Scratchings - Dehydration Method

How to Cook Pork Boston Butt

How to Smoke a Boston Butt

Roast Pork Tenderloin

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Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes



  1. Red Wines: Italian reds like Chianti, Montepulciano, or a Barbera are generally well-suited for meaty, tomato-based dishes. Their robust flavours and tannins complement the richness of the meatballs.
  2. White Wines: If you prefer white wine, opt for something with good acidity to cut through the richness of the meat and sauce. Pinot Grigio or a crisp Chardonnay could work well here.
  3. Rosé: A dry rosé can offer the best of both worlds, providing the acidity to balance the meat's richness while being light enough not to overpower the dish.


  1. Italian Lagers: Think Peroni or Moretti. These beers are clean and crisp, which can refresh the palate when eating a rich dish.
  2. Amber Ale: The malty sweetness can complement the meat's richness while the hops can cut through the tomato sauce's acidity.
  3. Stout: If you prefer darker beers, a stout can pair nicely with meat dishes, offering contrasting flavours of coffee and chocolate.

Non-Alcoholic Options:

  1. Sparkling Water: Sometimes simplicity is key. A sparkling water with a wedge of lemon or lime can cleanse the palate between bites.
  2. Italian Sodas: Flavoured with fruit syrups and often finished with a splash of cream, these can offer a refreshing contrast to your hearty meal.
  3. Iced Tea: Opt for unsweetened or lightly sweetened variants with lemon to offer a refreshing and palate-cleansing alternative.
  4. Virgin Mojito: The mint and lime can offer a refreshing counterpoint to the rich, savoury flavours of the meatballs and sauce.