Tortigliono with mini lamb meatballs, pine nuts, fresh mint & sultanas


My new home, Dubai, is a rich source of culinary inspiration.
Fusion time: Italian & Middle East!


What do you need?

Serves 4.

• 500 gram short pasta (such as tortiglioni, farfalle, rigatoni, penne)
• 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

For the meatballs:

• 500 gram lamb mince
• ½ cup breadcrumbs
• 2 tbsp. sultanas
• 2 tbsp. pine nuts
• 4 tbsp. freshly chopped mint
• ½ cup red wine
• 1 clove of garlic
• 1 egg

Spice mixture:

– 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
– 1 pinch nutmeg
– 1 pinch cinnamon
– 1 tbsp. dried rosemary
– 1 pinch pepper
– 1 pinch salt

For the sauce:

• 1 red capsicum
• 1 small eggplant
• 1 onion
• 3 tbsp. pine nuts
• 3 tbsp. freshly chopped mint
• 1 red chilli pepper
• 250 ml chicken stock
• 4 tbsp. of sultanas
• 4 big tbsp. sour cream
• 1 pinch pepper
• 1 pinch salt
• 3 tbsp. of olive oil


Start with the meat balls.
Chop the fresh mint finely.
Press the garlic with a garlic press.
Make the spice mixture by simply blending all the spices together. You can put them in a jar, close the lid and give it a good shake.
In a salad bowl, combine the mince and all the other ingredients (except from the spice mixture) with a fork.
Add the spice mixture, blend well.
It is important that all the ingredients are well diffused and the flavours are spread-out, so take your time to do so.
Make little balls from the mince, set aside.

Boil water and cook the pasta al dente, following the instructions on the package.
Dice the capsicum, after cutting out the seeds.
Remove the seeds from the eggplant and chop finely.
Chop the chilli pepper as fine as possible, after discarding the seeds.
Slice the onion into half rings.
Chop the fresh mint. Keep a few leaves on the side for decoration.
In a deep non-stick pan, on a high heat, sauté the onion in 2 tbsp. of olive oil, until translucent.
Add the capsicum, sultanas and chilli pepper.
Stir and let simmer on a medium heat for a 5 minutes, close with lid.
Add the eggplant and pine nuts to the capsicum-onion preparation, stir and let it cook another 5 minutes.

In the meantime, on a high heat, bake the meatballs in 1 tbsp. of olive oil, in a non-stick pan.
When they have a nice brown crust on both sides, deglaze with the chicken stock. Turn the heat down to medium.
Let it simmer until the meatballs are just cooked through. (Taste one to check)

The pasta should be done by now. Drain.
Add the pasta, the meatballs and stock, to the vegetables. Toss. Turn the heat down to low.
Fold in the sour cream and mint.
Bring to taste with pepper and salt.
Divide over 4 pasta plates.
Decorate with some mint leaves.
Serve with parmesan cheese.


© Magali Schockaert and, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Magali Schockaert and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Categories: Mains, RecipesTags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Can’t wait to try it out!
    But I am impressed, you have all these ingredients on board?
    I need to get some sultanas!

    • Dear Eva! Thanks. We indeed have all the ingredients on board. Easy as most of them are dried and long lasting. When we sail, most of the markets, even on remote islands have a good selection of fresh herbs. The meat will come from the boat freezer. 🙂 Just to make sure; sultanas are “rozijntjes”. Let me know, how you go! Xxx

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