Meatballs Alla Norma
Dice the eggplant into ½-inch cubes, then season well with salt and leave for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, finely chop the parsley (stalks and all), reserving a few leaves for garnish, and put into a bowl with the beef. Scrunch and mix together by hand, then divide into 20 equal pieces and roll into balls. Scatter the fennel seeds on a plate and roll the meatballs in them so they stick nicely, then pop into the fridge to firm up until needed.
Take handfuls of the eggplant and squeeze out the excess salty liquid, then put into a saucepan on a medium heat with a lug of oil to cook for 10 minutes, or until golden, stirring occasionally. Squash in the garlic through a garlic press, stir in the sweet chili sauce and balsamic, then tip in the tomatoes and a splash of water. Simmer for around 10 minutes, or until thickened.
Meanwhile, brown the meatballs in a separate saucepan on a medium heat with a lug of oil for about 10 minutes, or until golden all over and cooked through. Cook the polenta according to package instructions until you’ve got a good oozy consistency, adding the butter and a grating of Parmesan at the end. Season the sauce to perfection, then toss the meatballs through it and serve on top of the polenta, with the reserved parsley leaves scattered over and an extra grating of Parmesan, if you like.