This is one of my favourite dishes and it is so fun to make! Whenever mia nonna makes le polpette everyone gets so excited!
Le polpette can be eaten on their own or they can be added to il sugo di pomodoro (Italian tomato sauce). Some people even eat them with gli spaghetti!
If you don't mind getting your hands dirty, here's how to make them:
(to serve approximately four adults)
500 g. di carne macinata - 500g. of minced meat
(my nonna uses beef but they can also be made with pork, turkey or any meat you prefer)
2 uova - 2 eggs
Pane grattugiato Fresh white breadcrumbs
Un bicchiere di latte - a glass of milk
2 spicchi d'aglio - 2 cloves of garlic
Prezzemolo - Parsley
Noce moscata - Nutmeg
Sale - Salt
Pepe nero - Black pepper
Olio vegetale - Vegetable oil (for frying)
How to prepare:
1. Place the meat in a mixing bowl. Finely chop the fresh parsley and garlic and put them in the bowl with the meat. Grate about half of a fresh nutmeg over the ingredients. Add some salt and black pepper. Mix everything together with a spoon.
2. Crack open the eggs, directly into the mixture and continue to mix. Continue until you have a smooth, soft texture.
3. Add a handful of freshly grated breadcrumbs. Mix them in. Next, add a little milk. Keep adding small amounts of milk and breadcrumbs until you have a soft, smooth mixture that sticks together well.
4. Depending on how large or small you want your meatballs to be, take some of the mixture and, using the palm of your hand, roll it into a ball.
5. Place the ball on a plate of fresh breadcrumbs and roll it around until it's fully coated. Repeat this for the rest of the mixture.
6. Fill a pan with enough oil to cover around half the height of the meatballs. Once the oil is bubbling hot, you can pop the meatballs into the pan. Cooking times will vary depending on the size of le polpette.
7. Check if they're properly cooked by taking one out of the pan and open it in half. If the meat is well-cooked throughout then you can remove them all from the pan. Place the meatballs on kitchen paper so that the excess oil is drained.
8. Instead of frying le polpette, perhaps you would prefer to combine them with il sugo di pomodoro. Simply fill an oven dish with the tomato sauce and add the uncooked meatballs. Ensure they're well-coated by the sauce. Different to when frying, you shouldn't coat them in breadcrumbs prior to cooking.
Place them in the oven - il forno - at about 180 degrees for approximately half an hour. This makes a lovely main course - un secondo piatto.
Equally, the meatballs are excellent for sandwiches - i panini!
The final step: Mangia le polpette! Eat the meatballs!
In Italy, they are eaten either hot or cold. They are always deliziose.