Pappardelle with black cabbage and meatballs

Get the kids involved: Pappadelle with black cabbage and meatballs.
Get the kids involved: Pappadelle with black cabbage and meatballs. Photo: Marcel Aucar

For the home cook, pappardelle must be the easiest handmade pasta. Once you have your dough, all you need is a rolling pin and a knife. The flavour and silky texture of homemade pasta is worth the extra effort, and once you try it a few times you will see it is not so difficult to make pasta for four people. I like to get my boys involved; they love to knead the dough and wind the handle of our small pasta machine. These are available to purchase at most Italian delis.


For the pappardelle

200g plain flour

2 free-range eggs

pinch salt

1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

For the cabbage

100ml extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 bunches black cabbage, trimmed, coarsely chopped

For the meatballs

1kg coarsely minced pork shoulder

1 tbsp fine sea salt

1 tbsp finely ground black pepper

1 tbsp dry-roasted fennel seeds

200ml dry white wine

plain flour for dusting

100ml olive oil

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely diced


For the pappardelle, blend ingredients in a food processor until they form a dough, adding more oil, as necessary, to bind. Tip dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Roll into a ball and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Roll out thinly and cut into 4-centimetre-thick strips.

For braised black cabbage, heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add onion and stir occasionally until it starts to caramelise. Add cabbage and stir for 10-12 minutes, or until tender, season to taste and set aside.

For meatballs, combine pork, salt, pepper, fennel seeds and half the wine in a large bowl. Roll into walnut-sized balls and dust with flour. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; add meatballs in batches and cook, shaking pan occasionally, until golden. Each batch should take three to four minutes.

Return all meatballs to pan, add garlic and stir for one to two minutes until tender. Add chilli and deglaze pan with remaining wine. Add braised cabbage, toss to combine, season to taste and keep warm. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water for three to four minutes until al dente, then drain.

Serve the meatballs and cabbage on the pasta with finely grated parmesan and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, with crusty bread on the side.


FRANK'S TIP: Always salt the water when cooking pasta. I was once told it should taste like the Mediterranean Sea, but I like to think of it as the Pacific Ocean.