2 tbsp olive oil
½ cup risoni
1 medium bulb fennel
1 small onion, halved, very thinly sliced
1.5L chicken stock
1 bouquet garni
1 lemon, quartered
50g baby spinach leaves
60g Greek feta, crumbled
Red micro herbs, optional, to serve
Sliced sourdough or bâtard, to serve
500g lamb mince
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp chopped oregano
Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to season
⅔ cup stale breadcrumbs
To make meatballs, combine all ingredients well. Using damp hands, roll walnut-sized pieces of mixture into balls. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a wide, deep pot over medium heat. Add meatballs and cook, turning often, for 8-10 minutes or until browned. Remove from pot.
Meanwhile, cook risoni in a saucepan of boiling salted water until tender. Drain and rinse. Cover and set aside.
Trim and discard top and bottom of fennel, reserving dill-like tips. Cut fennel bulb in half then cut into very thin slices. Heat remaining oil in the meatball pot over medium heat. Add fennel and onion. Cook, stirring, for about 8 minutes or until soft but not brown.
Add stock, bouquet garni and lemon quarters. Bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes or until fennel is soft. Press lemon quarters with tongs to release the juice and then discard lemon and bouquet garni. Season well. Add meatballs and cook, covered, for 5 minutes.
Spoon risoni into serving bowls. Top evenly with spinach leaves. Chop 1 tbsp of reserved fennel tips and stir through soup. Ladle hot soup over the leaves and risoni. Sprinkle with feta. Garnish with any remaining fennel tips and micro herbs, if using, and serve with bread.