In Italy, polpette are almost never served with pasta. Instead, Italians enjoy polpette as an antipasto or side dish. So if you try to order spaghetti with meatballs while in Italy, you’ll get some funny looks.
This recipe for polpette comes from Abruzzo, a sunny region in central Italy. Unlike most meatballs you’ve had before, these are vegetarian and known as “pallotte.”
Frying the pallotte in sunflower oil prevents them from becoming too dense, while the final drizzle of extra virgin olive oil brings all the flavors together.
3 Cups of Stale Bread (without the crust)
4 Garlic Cloves
Classico Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Cup of Canned Crushed Tomatoes
Salt & Pepper
150 grams (about 1 cup) of Grated Pecorino
150 grams (about 1 cup) of Grated Parmigiano
1 Bunch of Fresh Parsley
Breadcrumbs (to taste)
1. Slice the bread into chunks. Place them into a bowl, pouring enough milk in to cover the bread. Set to one side and let soften as you prepare the other ingredients.
2. Crush two of the garlic cloves and place in a non-stick pan with two tablespoons of olive oil. Turn the flame to medium and cook until the garlic turns golden.
3. Mix in the crushed tomatoes and cover. Let the garlic and crushed tomatoes simmer over a low flame for roughly 20 minutes. Add a splash of water if the mixture becomes too dry.
4. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. Add a generous grind of black pepper and the two grated cheeses.
5. Go back to the bowl of bread with milk. Squeeze the bread thoroughly, removing all the excess milk. Add the bread to the bowl with the egg and cheese mixture.
6. Mince the remaining two cloves of garlic and dice the parsley. Add these to the bread, egg, and cheese mixture.
7. Begin combining all the ingredients with your hands. Add breadcrumbs if the batter is too liquid. The end result should be well combined, wet but not sticky, and not too solid (just enough to roll a small ball).
8. Once you’ve achieved this texture, taste and adjust with salt and pepper accordingly.
9. With slightly damp hands, roll the batter into equal-sized pallotte.
10. Heat two fingers deep of sunflower seed oil in a frying pan over high flame. Once the oil is hot enough (you can find this out by inserting a tiny bit of batter and seeing if it bubbles immediately), begin frying the pallotte. Don’t overcrowd the pan but rather cook them in batches.
11. As each pallotte turns golden, take it out of the pan with a slotted spoon. Remove any excess oil by placing them on a few sheets of paper towels.
12. Once all the pallotte have been fried, drop them into the pan with the tomato sauce. Combine well and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
13. Serve the pallotte in a dish drizzled with Classico Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Don’t have a bottle of Classico extra virgin olive oil? Order a bottle and we’ll send one from our Italian kitchen to yours!