Italian meatballs served with polenta
Posted by: The Chiappas | 08.08.13
Believe it or not but in Italy, meatballs are not traditionally served with spaghetti – that was an American adaptation! Meatballs (polpette) are made in many different ways but my nonno’s authentic recipe from our local area was to make them with sausage meat. It was a poor man’s dinner so they used the cheapest cuts of meat they could find. And what a delicious meal it is!
PREPARATION TIME: 20 mins
COOKING TIME: 40 mins
For the meatballs:
500g sausage meat
100g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 medium eggs, preferably free-range or organic
a small handful of chopped parsley
1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1 teaspoon fine salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
For the polenta:
200g fast cooking polenta
Knob of butter
800mls of cold water
2 handfulls of grated parmesan cheese
For the Sauce:
2 red peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped
4 medium vine tomatoes, halved
1 whole garlic bulb, halved
1 red chilli, halved lengthways
A few sprigs of thyme
Preheat oven to 180C
In a roasting tray place all the veggies for your sauce, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Roast for 15-20mins or until roasted and lovely and golden. Then add to a mini blitzer, whiz up and taste, adding more seasoning if needed.
For the meatballs, put all the ingredients, apart from the oil, in a large bowl and mix together with your hands. Shape into walnut-sized balls. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and cook the meatballs for about 10 minutes, turning regularly until browned all over and cooked through.
Put polenta, butter and cold water into a pan, bring to boil, constantly whisking/stirring to ensure no lumps form. Turn down to simmer and keep cooking for another minute, adding the parmesan and seasoning. Or follow the instructions as directed on the packet.
To serve, place a few large spoons of polenta in a large serving bowl, add a few tablespoons of the sauce and top with your meatballs. Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil and parmesan shavings.
This recipe will be found in our book “Simply Italain, At Home with the Chiappa sisters” being published in 2014 by Penguin: Micheal Joseph. To pre order a copy NOW click here.