This is a fantastic recipe that completely celebrates everything I love about peas. Even though they only make an appearance right at the end, it's a star performance. I like to serve a pile of unshelled peas in the middle of the table so that everyone gets to shell some over their own plate. It's also an incredibly fast recipe - you can be sitting down to eat within a minute of the pasta being done. The key to getting it right, though, is to buy really good-quality sausages
For the meatballs:
- Olive oil
- 8 good-quality pork sausages
- 1 pound spaghetti
- Sea salt
- A few sprigs fresh marjoram, thyme or rosemary, leaves picked
- 11 ounces fresh peas, in their pods
- 1 block Parmesan, to serve
For the tomato sauce:
- Olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
- 1 small bunch fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
- 2 (14-ounce) cans good-quality plum tomatoes
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Good quality balsamic vinegar
Heat a large saucepan and add a few glugs of olive oil. Snip the sausages apart, then squeeze and pinch the meat out of the skins so that you get little meatball shapes - don't make them too big or they will take too long to cook. Try to get at least 3 balls out of each sausage. Don't worry about rolling them into perfect balls and making them look all fancy - rough and rustic is good! Put them into your pan. Keep frying and turning the meatballs until they're golden brown and cooked through.
Meanwhile, put the spaghetti into a large pan of salted boiling water and cook according to the package instructions until al dente.
To make your tomato sauce, heat a separate pan and pour in some olive oil. Add the garlic and the chopped basil stalks and move them around the pan for a couple of minutes. Put some small basil leaves aside for later, and sprinkle the rest into the pan. Add the tomatoes and season carefully with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a simmer, break up your tomatoes a bit more with a spoon and add a swig of balsamic vinegar - it's lovely for adding sweetness to the sauce.
Add the herbs to the pan of sausage meatballs, tossing everything in all the lovely flavors. Cook for around 30 seconds. When your spaghetti is cooked, drain it and divide the pasta and meatballs between 4 bowls. Spoon over the tomato sauce. Sprinkle over the reserved basil leaves and serve with a handful of fresh peas per person in the middle of the table, so that everyone can have a go at shelling their own, and a little Parmesan for grating or shaving over the top.
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