cooked Puy lentis
free-range or organic egg
good grating of fresh nutmeg
wholemeal breadcrumbs or oats
Parmesan cheese (I use a vegetarian one)
unwaxed lemon, zest grated
spaghetti of your choice (I use wholemeal)
handful of almonds
small bunch of fresh basil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Fill and boil a kettle and get all your ingredients together.
Wash the spinach and remove any tough stalks. Place a large frying pan on a high heat and, when it’s hot, add the spinach and dry-fry until wilted and any water has evaporated.
Drain the lentils well if you are using tinned, then put them into a blender and blitz until they are mushy. Add the egg, nutmeg, breadcrumbs or oats, Parmesan, lemon zest and some salt and pepper. Chop the garlic and add this too. Blitz until combined, then remove from the food processor and fold in the spinach.
Divide the mixture into four. From each quarter make 8 small balls. You should end up with 32 balls, each roughly 3 cm in diameter. Place on a baking tray and put into the oven for 15-20 minutes, until crisp and golden.
To make the sauce, put the almonds, garlic and olive oil in a food processor. Blitz to a coarse texture then add the zest and juice of the lemon, the basil leaves and the cherry tomatoes. Blitz again until you have a rough pesto, then season well with salt and pepper.
When the polpette have had 10 minutes, fill a large pan with boiling water, add salt and once at a rolling boil add the pasta and cook according to the packet instructions (usually about 8 minutes).
Once the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Add the pesto and mix well, adding a little of the reserved pasta water to loosen if needed. Tangle the tomatoey pasta into bowls and top with the spinach polpette and a little more Parmesan, if you like.
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