Meaning meatballs in Italian, polpette are bite sized, round-shaped nuggets of meat, cheese, and different types of vegetables. These iconic Italian meatballs are a staple of Italian cuisine around the world. However, Italian polpette differ slightly from Italian-style meatballs found elsewhere- these meatballs are made with lots of Parmigiano Reggiano, as well as breadcrumbs. 

Originating from various regions of Italy, these savory spheres of goodness have a rich history dating back centuries. The recipe varies from region to region, but typically involves a blend of ground meats, breadcrumbs, eggs, Parmesan cheese, and a medley of herbs and spices. Polpette are often simmered in a luscious tomato sauce until tender and flavorful, and then served as a standalone dish. Polpette capture the essence of comfort and tradition in every bite, making them an Italian culinary treasure.

Difficulty: Beginner Servings: 6 Best Season: Suitable throughout the year



Preparing the meatballs

  1. Cut off the crusts of the bread and place the white part of the bread in a large bowl with water to soak.

    In a mixing bowl, add the ground beef, egg, Parmigiano, salt, pepper, chopped parsley and mix.Take out handfuls of the bread in water and squeeze off extra water like a sponge. Add to the meat mixture and mix with your hands until well combined. Form the meatballs to the size you prefer- either about golf ball-sized or you can make mini-polpettine that are marble-sized. Dust the meatballs lightly with flour before cooking.

    To cook the meatballs, you may choose to either fry them, sauté them or bake them based on your preference and how you are going to serve them.

Fried meatballs

  1. Fry the meatballs in peanut or canola oil until golden. Transfer to paper-towel-lined plate to drain and serve hot with a side of potatoes and green salad.

Baked metalballs

  1. Bake the meatballs in a preheated oven at 200° C (about 400° F) about 15 minutes until browned, making sure to turn meatballs halfway so they cook evenly. Serve with a side of potatoes and green salad.

Sautéed & In Tomato Sauce

  1. In a large sauté pan, heat a small amount of extra virgin olive oil. Add the meatballs and sauté until browned. Then remove, transfer to paper-towel-lined plate to drain and add the meatballs to tomato sauce. Continue cooking for about 30 minutes over low heat so the meatballs finish cooking in the sauce. Use the sauce on pasta as your first course and then serve the meatballs as the second course.

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