[Recipe 1] PORK, PINE NUT and PANCETTA MINI MEATLOAVES transform into
Welcome folks. For my inaugural post I figured we’d start with some pork on our forks! The first recipe is for scrumptious (even if I do say so myself) Pork, pine nut and pancetta mini meatloaves. We call them, ahem, PPP Loaves. They’re kid-friendly as they’re quite sausagey, but the fennel flavour is sophisticated enough for adult palates too. My boys just love them.
The meatloaf recipe allows for a good stash of planned-overs (look for the orange diamonds); in this case a flavoursome pork and pine nut mixture to be set aside for two further meals of Fusilli with pork sausage and lentils. This is a super-quick dish (no chopping up or frying of onions required) and you can prepare it while the pasta is cooking. Delicious!
PS. If you’re feeling energetic you could make the pasta sauce while the meatloaves are baking. There’s nothing more satisfying than a bulk cook-up, and the resulting well-stocked fridge or freezer.
You could also choose to use the mixture for a double quantity of meatloaves (they freeze really well cooked, and are excellent sliced in sandwiches); in which case you’d double all the meatloaf ingredients from the breadcrumbs down.

Pork, pancetta and pinenut mini meatloaves

[Recipe 1] Pork, pine nut and pancetta mini meatloaves

Ingredients (serves 4 for 3 meals; ie. 1 serve meatloaves, 2 serves pasta sauce):
2 tablespoons olive oil

2 leeks, white parts only, sliced lengthwise, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 kilo (2 lb) minced (ground) pork
500g (1 lb) good-quality sausage meat
(see notes)
1 cup (70g) fresh breadcrumbs (2 slices day-old sourdough, processed)
1 medium carrot, finely grated on zester holes
½ cup (60g) pine nuts, toasted

2 eggs, beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8–12 large thinly-sliced pancetta pieces (approx. 150g/5 oz)
To serve:
Easy spiced tomato chutney (or store-bought tomato relish)
Green beans with toasted pinenuts

Preheat oven to 200°C (390ºF).
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook the leek for 6–8 minutes, until soft. Add fennel seeds and cook, stirring, for 1–2 minutes until aromatic. Allow to cool in a large bowl. Add the pork mince, sausage meat, breadcrumbs, carrot, toasted pine nuts and eggs. Mix well with your hands until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper and mix lightly.
This mixture will yield 2 kilos (4 lb) of pork and pine nut mixture. 1 kilo (2 lb) is required for the pork, pine nut and pancetta mini meatloaves.
Reserve the remaining 1 kilo (2 lb) of pork and pine nut mixture for the Fusilli with pork sausage and lentils (yields enough sauce to serve 8).

Grease eight ⅔ cup (160ml) capacity mini loaf pans (or friand, muffin or cupcake pans). Line each pan with pancetta, allowing the sides to overhang.
Divide 1 kilo (2 lb) of the pork and pine nut mixture among the prepared pans, pressing mixture down firmly. Fold pancetta over to enclose the filling.
Bake meatloaves for 30 minutes, or until cooked through.
Drain any juices from the pan and carefully run a knife around each loaf to loosen.
Serve sliced, with easy spiced tomato chutney and green beans with toasted pine nuts. You can toast the pine nuts for the meatloaves and the green beans at the same time.
Makes 8 mini meatloaves.

  • For good-quality sausage meat, slit open free-range pork sausages and squeeze meat from the casings.
  • Pancetta is cured Italian bacon made of pork belly meat, and is available at delicatessens. Replace with very-thinly sliced bacon or prosciutto if unavailable.
  • Refrigerate and use Recipe 1 planned-overs (uncooked pork and pine nut mixture) within 3 days. Uncooked mixture can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Meatloaf leftovers are excellent for lunch. Serve sliced in a sandwich with tomato chutney and cos (romaine) lettuce. Yum!
  • You can use any type of bread to make fresh breadcrumbs: white, rye, wholemeal (wholewheat) or – my preference – sourdough. Save scraps of leftover bread and freeze for up to 3 months, removing large pieces of crust before processing.
  • Dark green leek offcuts can be used in stock.

Fusilli with pork sausage and lentils

[Recipe 2] Fusilli (spiral pasta) with pork sausage and lentils

Ingredients (serves 8):
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium carrots, grated

♦ 1 kilo (2 lb) reserved pork and pine nut mixture
2 heaped tablespoons tomato paste/concentrate
2 x 400g (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes
2 x 400g (14 oz) cans lentils, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked lentils – see notes)
2 cinnamon sticks
½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra for serving

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
400g (14 oz) dried fusilli (spiral pasta) per 4 people

Heat oil in a large heavy-based saucepan, and add grated carrot.
Add reserved pork and pine nut mixture.
Cook over low heat, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Break up large lumps with a spoon, retaining a few mini meatball-sized chunks for texture.
Add tomato paste, tomatoes, lentils, cinnamon sticks and ⅔ cup of water and simmer, covered, over a low heat for 15–20 minutes, until thickened. Stir occasionally. Remove and discard cinnamon sticks. Stir through parsley and season with salt and pepper.
If serving four people, divide sauce into two portions of 1 kilo (2 lb) each. The remaining 1 kilo batch of pasta sauce can be refrigerated or frozen for another meal (see notes).
Meanwhile, cook fusilli in boiling water until al dente. Drain.
Stir pork and lentil sauce through fusilli. Serve, scattered with extra parsley.

  • Left-over tomato paste can be frozen in 1 or 2 tablespoon lumps, individually-wrapped in cling film; ready to plop into your next pasta dish.
  • 2 x 400g (14 oz) cans lentils, drained, will yield 2 heaped cups cooked lentils. For 2 heaped cups cooked lentils, cook 1 cup dry lentils in boiling water for 45 minutes, until tender. Drain and rinse. I often cook up a load of lentils, and freeze them in 1 or 2 cup portions to use when required.
  • Although this sauce is lovely served as is, feel free to add extra veggies such as grated zucchini (courgette), baby spinach leaves or chopped silverbeet (Swiss chard).
  • Freeze leftover parsley stalks, and use in sweet tomato pasta sauce or home-made chicken stock.
  • Reserved pasta sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. Note: if you’ve used frozen planned-overs of pork and pinenut mixture, pasta sauce should not be frozen.