Pork and Veal Meatballs with a Light Cream and Balsamic Vinegar Sauce

I worked out the recipe for this delicately flavoured dish from the memory of an exceptionally good meal I ate with an Italian family at their farmhouse between Modena and Parma — the homes of balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese respectively. For the sauce, this family used their own, well-aged balsamic vinegar made with grapes from their vineyard. The many-coursed meal lasted happily for four hours.

Ingredients

  • 225 g/8 oz minced pork
  • 225 g/8 oz minced veal
  • 100 g/4 oz rindless smoked bacon
  • 6-8 fresh sage leaves
  • 50 g/2 oz Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • ¼-½ nutmeg, grated
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 25 g/1 oz butter
  • 300 ml/½ pint double cream
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • a little chopped fresh parsley
  • salt
  • black pepper

Method

Put the minced pork and veal into a bowl. Chop the bacon and sage leaves up finely and add them to the minced meat, together with the grated Parmesan. Grate in the nutmeg, season with salt and plenty of black pepper and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Using wet hands, form the mixture into little meatballs, about the size of a marble.

Put the olive oil and butter into a large, heavy-based frying pan and melt over a fairly high heat. Then add the meatballs and fry, stirring gently, for 8-10 minutes, until they are cooked through and well browned all over. Using a slotted spatula, transfer the meatballs to a plate and put in a warm place on one side.

Add the cream to the pan juices, bring to the boil and bubble for about 2 minutes, stirring around. Then stir in the balsamic vinegar and bubble for another minute. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and black pepper, adding a little more balsamic vinegar if you like. Just before serving, put the meatballs back in the pan and bring the sauce to bubbling point again, then stir in a little chopped parsley and turn into a heated serving dish.