Pasta with Sicilian meat balls and courgettes are a delight in your mouth after a few hours drive

The body guard of the house, our French bulldog Pillo, is really ill. We brought him to a wonderful animal clinic in Pistoia, 1h40mins drive from Siena. For his recovery he needs to eat, and most important of all, he needs to know that we haven’t abandoned him.

It’s a question of organization to prepare late evening dinners for the following days.

The best meatballs ever, in the ‘real’ version, served with pasta and courgettes is an easily digestible meal which can be partially prepared in advance.

For 2p mix 300 grams of mixed minced meat (chicken and pork are my favorites) with 2 table spoons of grated pecorino, 50 grams of bread crumb, 4 table spoons of chopped fresh parsley, zeste of 1 lemon and 1 egg. Add pepper and salt. Make small balls of approx 3 cm. Roll each ball in a bit of flower. Bake the balls in a drizzle of olive oil until golden brown on the outside. Add 150 ml of white wine and allow the alcohol to evaporate. Cover the balls with water and add 4 bay leaves. Simmer on a low fire until the sauce thickens. A few mins before serving add the juice of ½ lemon. Taste, add pepper and salt. It’s easy to prepare the balls in advance and to reheat and add the lemon juice at the very end. In the meanwhile chop 600 grams of courgettes in little cubes. Mix with 3 chopped garlic cloves, pepper, salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Put in the oven at 180° for 15 mins while boiling some pasta. Mix pasta, courgettes and balls and finish with the sauce and a few slices of fresh lemon. The best balls ever!!

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