Pasta and California Fig Meatballs

Servings: 4

Prep Time
Cook Time
Robert Del Grande, The Annie, Houston, Texas


  • 1/4 cup chopped California Dried Figs
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon culinary lavender
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 large yellow onion, minced
  • 1 pound ground pork or pork sausage
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 pound spiral or twisted pasta (such as gemelli), cooked to al dente
  • California Fig Tomato Sauce
  • Chopped fresh parsley and grated Parmesan for garnish


    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
    2. Place the figs and warm water to a small food processor or single-serve blender cup. Puree until a paste forms, about 30 seconds. Transfer the paste to a large bowl.
    3. Add the parsley, Parmesan cheese, ginger, fennel seeds, lavender, red chili flakes, salt, pepper, garlic, and onion to the bowl. Stir well. Add the pork and blend well. Mix in the egg until all ingredients are combined and distributed throughout the pork.
    4. Divide the meat blend into 8 portions and roll into meatballs. Each will weigh about 2.5 ounces. Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until no longer pink in the center.
    5. Place the warm cooked pasta in a bowl, pour in the warm California Fig Tomato Sauce and toss to coat. Transfer to a serving platter and top with the meatballs. Garnish with parsley and Parmesan before serving.