Italian Polpette's with Tomato Sauce

This great recipe is out of 'the food of Italy by Sophie Braimbridge and Jo Glynn' .  These polpette's are traditionally served with pasta or bread and are at there best when left for a day for the flavours to fuse together before these delicious meatballs are cooked.


180ml Olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
100g pine nuts, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves crushed
40g parsley, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, ground
50g fresh breadcrumbs
250g ricotta (check out bio-dynamic ricotta under 'cuisine knowledge' at Superyacht Cuisine).
25g parmesan, grated
grated zest of 1 large lemon
1 egg
500g minced pork or beef

800g tomatoes or 2 x 400g tins tomatoes
100ml red wine

Place half of the olive oil into a saucepan and cook the onions and pinenuts so they become soft and the pinenuts golden.  Add in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, then remove from heat.

Place the herbs, fennel seeds, breadcrumbs, ricotta, Parmesan, lemon zest and egg into a bowl along with the mince.  Add the the cooked onion, pinenut mixture plus salt and pepper into the mix and combine the ingredients but do not overmix.

Roll one little polpette and fry off to check for correct seasoning.  Correct if necessary.  Place mixture into the fridge for 30 minutes to rest or preferebly overnight for the flavours to mingle together.

Remove polpette mixture from the fridge then roll into 50g balls which is about a walnut size, flatten slightly for even cooking and repeat with the rest of the mixture.

Heat the remaining olive oil 90ml in a large saucepan and fry the meatballs until golden brown on both sides and cooked through. I prefer to do this in two batches to get even browning. 


I use fresh tomatoes for my sauces when ever possible.  To do this if using fresh score a cross in the bottom of each one, cut around the stalk top and remove.  Then plunge into hot boiling water and remove after around 1 minute or until the skins come off easily.  Drain and refresh in ice cold water.  Peel the skins off and finely chop tomatoes. If using tinned simply open the tin :). Add the tomatoes, wine and seasoning to the saucepan and simmer together for 5 minutes.  Cover the saucepan and cook gently for 10 minutes then switch off and allow to stand for 10 minutes.

Serve with pasta, polenta or risotto.


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