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Pork Meatballs with Currants - A Family Feast

Pork Meatballs with Currants

Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
Prep: 30 minsCook: 1 hourTotal: 1 hour 30 minutes



  • 2 ounces (in weight) white bread, crusts removed and cubed (about 2-3 slices)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 4 ounces onion (in weight)
  • 2 ounces celery (in weight), about 1 medium stalk
  • 4 ounces peeled carrots (in weight), about 1-2 carrots
  • 1/2 ounce garlic (in weight) about 2-3 cloves
  • 2 teaspoons dry fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dry Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 2 whole eggs slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing.

Tomato Sauce

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces onion (in weight), shredded on the large holes of a box grater
  • 1/2 ounce garlic passed through a garlic press, about 23 cloves
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon dry Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 28ounce cans kitchen-ready crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound Campanelle pasta, or your favorite pasta


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl soak bread with milk.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor, add onions, celery, carrots and garlic and pulse until chopped fine.
  4. In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, dry roast fennel seeds for about two minutes or until slightly browned.
  5. Add oil and vegetable mixture from food processor along with Italian seasoning.
  6. Cook for five minutes and add currants. Cook for one minute and remove from heat and add to the bowl with the bread and milk.
  7. Once the mixture has cooled, add eggs, salt, pepper and Parmesan. Stir to combine.
  8. Add pork and sausage meat and gently mix just to incorporate ingredients but do not over mix.
  9. Use an ice cream scoop and scoop out 14 meatballs.
  10. Line a small sheet tray with parchment paper and roll each scoop into a ball and place on the sheet tray.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes.
  12. While meatballs are cooking, start to heat water for pasta by following box directions.
  13. In a separate large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat and add onions, garlic, pepper flakes and Italian seasoning. Cook for four minutes and add wine.
  14. Cook for two minutes and add tomatoes, sugar and salt and simmer for 10 minutes. Then stir in Parmesan.
  15. After 20 minutes remove meatballs from oven and add to the sauce.
  16. Cover sauce and meatballs and add a heat defuser under the pot and cook for 30 minutes at a medium low simmer.
  17. About 15 minutes before the pot of sauce and meatballs are done; cook the pasta according to box directions.
  18. To serve, drain pasta and place on platter topped with meatballs and sauce.
  19. Alternatively you can drain the pasta just before it is fully cooked, reserving a cup of pasta water. Place the pasta back into the pot and ladle in half of the sauce and thin with a little pasta water if needed and heat until pasta is fully cooked. Then serve with remaining sauce and meatballs.

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