Tuesday 22 November 2022

Polpette (meatballs) with olives

30 minutes to prepare to cookServes 4

Viva le polpette!

The first documented appearance of meatballs was in the fifteenth century in the Libro de Arte Coquinaria of Maestro Martino, who was chef to the camerlengo patriarch of Aquileia at that time.
In this book, the author describes the proper preparation of what he refers to as “meatballs” and this is the first known recipe solely dedicated to meatballs.

Then, in 1881, Pilgrim Artusi, in his well-known Handbook of Science in Cooking and the Art of Eating Good, also includes an ode to the meatball, writing: “Do not think that I have the pretense of teaching you how to make meatballs. This is a dish that everyone knows how to make. I only intend to tell you how they are prepared by someone who has leftover boiled meat; If you want to make them simpler or with raw meat, you do not need to use much dressing or seasoning. Grind the meat and a slice of fat and lean ham together. Season with parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, spices, raisins, pine nuts, some spoonfuls of porridge, made with a bit of bread cooked in meat broth or milk, binding the mixture together with an egg or two, depending on the amount. Form lots of little balls the size of an egg, bread them and fry them in oil or lard.”

Meatballs are part of the cuisine in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark as well, but Italians have invented one way possible to cook them up in the most exquisite and delicious ways. In this recipe, we will focus on the classic Italian meatball recipe, a recipe that should be easy for anyone to prepare, with a small twist given by bacon and dark olives. Here we go!.

Here are ingredients for a 4-serving recipe (20 polpette):

450 g ground beef meat
3 slices white bread
1 glass milk
800 g tomato passata
100 g bacon
half onion
20 pitted dark olives
50 g grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 l seed oil
1 sprig basil
EVO oil

  1. Soak the white bread in the milk, after removing the crust, for about 2 minutes
  2. Prepare the tomato sauce: chop the onion, heat 4 tablespoons of EVO oil in the bottom of a pan and fry the chopped onion until soft. Add the tomato passata and allow to simmer (about half an hour). Stir occasionally and add salt and basil during the last 5 minutes of cooking
  3. When the sugo sauce is ready, season the ground meat with grated Parmesan cheese, chopped bacon, chopped dark olives, milk-soaked bread and a pinch of pepper. Stir to mix well
  4. Beat the eggs in a small bowl
  5. Prepare meatballs: take a small handful of ground meat mixture in your hand and create a round shape. Continue to use up all the meat in the same manner making more polpette, placing the finished ones on a baking sheet
  6. Take each meatball and first dip into the egg, and then roll in breadcrumbs
  7. Heat the seed oil in a heavy saucepan to 180°C
  8. Deep fry 3 or 4 polpette at a time until crisp and golden brown (about 10 minutes). Then, use a slotted spoon to remove from the oil, and place on a tray covered in paper towels
  9. Add meatballs to the tomato sauce and go on with the cooking for a few minutes. Then enjoy!

Nutrition Facts are detailed in the table below. Data is provided per serving.

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