polpette recipe

[RECIPE] Polpette

In Recipes & How-to by Roscioli Italian Wine Club

The most widely-supported theory says the Polpette recipe originated in Persia. The word ‘kofta’ (which indicates the typical Middle Eastern meatballs) derives from the Persian ‘koofteh’, which means ‘pounded meat’.

In any case, today meatballs are prepared in a variety of different ways across the world. Spicy or not so spicy, fried or baked, in sauce or stewed, made from meat or fish, vegetables or beans, as long as they are well made. The most popular polpette recipe in Italy is the most traditional one: fried meatballs bathed in a tasty tomato sauce.

Whatever their history, one thing is for certain: once you’ve tasted the first, there’s no going back!


Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

Servings: 6

Ingredients - For the Meatballs:
  • 1kg of ground beef
  • 600gr of bread
  • 100 cl milk
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 200gr mortadella
  • 10gr parsley
  • 30gr Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 40gr Pecorino cheese, grated
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 clove of garlic
Ingredients - For the Sauce:
  • 2kg peeled tomatoes
  • 100gr celery
  • 200gr onions
  • 200gr carrots
  • 10gr salt
  • 5gr sugar
  1. Soften the bread: pour the milk over the bread and leave it to soak for about ten minutes
  2. Prepare the mixture for the meatballs: pass the meat twice through the grinder together with the bread (after squeezing it thoroughly), adding the egg, cheeses, mortadella, chopped parsley, chopped garlic clove, nutmeg, salt and pepper
  3. Work the mixture: mix all the ingredients well for a few minutes with your hands to obtain a homogeneous mixture. Divide it into equal parts the size of an egg
  4. Shape the meatballs: sprinkle a little oil on your hands and form round meatballs, slightly flattened at the ends
  5. Make the sauce: chop the onion and cook it in a pan with the oil until it becomes transparent. Add the chopped tomatoes, season with salt and cook gently with a lid for about twenty minutes
  6. Cook the meatballs: heat three tablespoons of oil in a non-stick pan and quickly fry the meatballs, two minutes on either side
  7. Add the meatballs to the sauce: place the meatballs in the pan with the sauce and continue cooking for about 20 minutes.

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