Filei Calabresi is a Durum semolina pasta, and it has long intrigued me. The thick pasta has been rolled loosely into a tube-like form and dried, and it has this kind of rustic feel to it. Durum semolina pasta is quite different to the whole wheat and egg pastas that are most commonly purchased. Semolina refers to the sand-like consistency that the gluten-rich Durum wheat has been ground to. This coarse milling and the high gluten content results in a thick and grainy pasta. When cooking semolina pasta, cook until just al dente - you want it to be a touch chewy as this pasta has the tendency to get a bit gluey if overcooked. Be sure to strain and rinse the pasta, and throw in a knob of butter (just because). 

A flavoursome sauce is required to stand up to this robust pasta, and I'm just bursting to share my signature baked meatball recipe! We were having guests over for dinner and I created this hearty dish to ensure that two hungry men would be filled up. (Josh tells me that he was full, so this dish gets a big tick of approval!) My garlic and rosemary meatballs complete with bubbling cheesy top cannot be passed up, and they're complimented by the rich, wintery sauce of tomato, leek, mushroom and radicchio. Serves 4-6, and it's pretty cost effective too.

What you'll need:
500g Filei Calabresi (or a pasta of your choice)
2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 leek, halved lengthways and sliced
200g mushrooms, sliced
1/2 radicchio, washed and sliced
2 tablespoons basil, chopped or torn
Mozzarella cheese, grated
Parmesan cheese, to serve
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

500g beef mince
1 egg
1/4 cups breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon rosemary leaves, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely

What to do:
Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Pour a few good glugs of olive oil into a large frypan and set aside.

Place all ingredients for the meatballs into a large bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix and combine everything well. Roll heaped teaspoons of the mince into balls and place into prepared frypan. Once all of the mince has been rolled, turn the heat on and up to medium-high. Fry, turning as needed, until all of the meatballs have browned on the outside. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium, add the chopped leek and fry for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes, or until mushrooms have softened. Add the diced tomatoes and bring to the boil. Add the radicchio and cook for 2 minutes. Return meatballs to the pan and stir in the basil. Season to taste.

Transfer meatballs and sauce to an oven-proof baking dish and sprinkle mozzarella evenly over the top. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is brown and bubbly.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to the boil and add the pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain, rinse and stir through a knob of butter. Serve with baked meatballs and enjoy!