Jars of pesto sauce are now easily available and some supermarkets also sell tubs of fresh pesto; they are a boon for adding interest and flavour to quickly made dishes, as in these particularly good meatballs. They taste equally delicious cold, so are very practical to take on picnics.
Cut the pepper in half and remove the seeds and stem. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the pepper halves, cover the pan and simmer for 6-8 minutes, until the pepper has softened. Drain and chop finely. Cut the chicken breast fillets into very small pieces. Peel the garlic and chop finely. Chop the parsley fairly small. Put the minced pork and the pine kernels (they are nicest if you toss them in a dry frying pan for a minute or two first just to brown) into a bowl and stir in the chopped pepper, chicken, garlic and parsley. Then add the pesto with a good seasoning of salt and black pepper and stir thoroughly.
Using wet hands, take up bits of the meat mixture and form into balls the size of large marbles. Heat the oil in a large, heavy frying pan over a medium heat. Add the meatballs and fry for 15-20 minutes, turning them around until browned all over. Transfer to a heated serving plate, pile up into a mound and serve.
© 1997 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.