, ,

Finished dish

Restaurants are closed but your kitchen is still open for business; am I right?

There are hungry mouths to feed (even if just your own).

The thought of yet another frozen pizza is quite possibly starting to lose it’s previous appeal?

If you are one that likes to eat something (sort of) fancy but have picky kids, this might be just the thing.

If you are not a great cook but you like to eat well, then give this a try.

If you are on a tight budget or even if you can throw down a big wad of cash, this fits the budget.

If you are a meat and potatoes guy, a lover of pasta and meat, or get excited about anything containing the word meatball, or just want to try something new, well, look no further than this.

This meal is for everyone who still eats meat, hasn’t given up on gluten and knows the joy a simple act of grating parmesan can bring.

This meal is therapeutically easy, relatively quick, quite inexpensive and even forgiving, if you need to improvise by substituting ingredients that you already have hanging out in the pantry or the fridge.

No ground pork? Grind your own in a food processor; any cut of pork will work.

No pork? Try using ground chicken, lamb or beef instead.

No pappardelle pasta? Use fettuccine, linguine or spaghetti.

No pasta? Substitute with rice.

No preserved lemons? Use extra lemon zest and a bit more salt. You could also add in some capers instead.

No chicken stock and/or no vermouth? Use all stock, all vermouth or substitute white wine, or even pasta water instead.

Bread crumbs? Make your own with any kind of bread or use that can of bread crumbs your mother bought last time she was in town (oh wait, that was my Mom). Add chopped olives (or not), it will still be good.

No butter? Do you have milk or cream? I bet you have mayonnaise? You could even use that!

What I’m saying is this. Make something delicious, satisfying and fun. Keep cooking. Start cooking. Eat well. Eat often (but not too often). Feel good and above everything, stay home and stay safe!

Let’s all get though this and come out stronger on the other side!

Step one: Dig in pantry for preserved lemons from Irma

Step 2: Make meatballs

Step 3: Make sauce

Step 4: Add cooked pasta

Step 5: Ring the dinner bell, they’ll be sure to come running from the home office!


Preserved Lemon Pork Meatball Pappardelle

  • Author: Stacey Bender
  • Yield: 4 servings (approximately 18-20 meat balls 1x




1 lb Ground Pork

1 cup (homemade) Olive Bread Crumbs (recipe to follow)

Juice of 1 Lemon plus it’s zest

1/4 of a Preserved Lemon, chopped

3 Cloves Garlic, chopped

2 TB Dijon Mustard

1/2 tsp Kosher Salt

Fresh, Ground Pepper to taste

1/2 bunch Italian Parsley, chopped

Peanut Oil for cooking the meatballs


1 TB Olive Oil

1 Shallot, chopped (approximately 2 TB)

2 Cloves Garlic, chopped

1/4 cup White Vermouth

1/2 cup Chicken Stock

2 TB Lemon Juice

12 TB Butter

1/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan Cheese

3/4 lb Pappardelle Pasta

GARNISH (option 1)

2 cups Baby Spinach

1 TB Olive Oil

1 clove Garlic, chopped

1 tsp course Sea Salt

many grinds of fresh Peppercorns

2 wedges of Lemon

GARNISH (option 2)

1 cup Kale

12 TB Olive Oil

1/2 tsp course Sea Salt

many grinds of fresh Peppercorns

1 clove Garlic, chopped

1 TB grated Parmesan Cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place a handful of flour in the bottom of a baking pan.
  3. In a bowl, combine all ingredients through Italian Parsley.
  4. Using your hands, mix to combine.
  5. Form into small, bite-sized balls and place on the prepared baking pan.
  6. Shake the meatballs to get lightly coated in flour.
  7. Cover the bottom of a fry pan with peanut oil and brown each side of the meatballs, transferring them to a paper towel-lined plate as they finish.
  8. Cook and drain the pasta (I save a little of the pasta water in case it is needed for the sauce).
  9. Remove the paper towel from the meatballs and place pan in oven while you prepare the sauce.
  10. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and add the shallots and garlic.
  11. When the shallots and garlic are softening, add the lemon juice and stir. Add the vermouth, then the stock.
  12. Simmer a few minutes to reduce the liquid slightly (you might have a little more than 1/2 cup).
  13. Stir in the butter; it should slightly thicken.
  14. Add the cooked pasta, stirring to coat. Add the cheese and toss together using metal tongs. Once the pasta is heated through, season as needed; you might add a little more liquid, or not.
  15. Top with meatballs and your choice of garnish (see garnish instructions below).
  16. I always add an additional grating of Parmesan over top.

GARNISH (option 1)

  1. Just as you are about to add the pasta to your sauce, put the salt and pepper in a dry sauté pan and heat for 1 minute on low.
  2. Turn the heat to medium and add the olive oil and garlic, stir and let cook 30 seconds before adding the spinach.
  3. Toss the spinach to coat using metal tongs and cook just until wilted. Squeeze in the lemon juice and add the spinach to the heated pasta before topping with the meatballs.

GARNISH (Option 2)

  1. You can do this before you have started cooking the meatballs if you like.
  2. Wash and dry the kale.
  3. Remove the hard stem and discard.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients except the kale.
  5. Tear the kale into pieces adding them to the bowl as you go.
  6. Using your fingers, gently massage the kale with the mixture to rub all the flavors in and soften the kale.
  7. Let sit until you are ready to garnish.

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!