4 min read

Polpette al Sugo con Polenta

1

Italian meatballs with soft polenta

At last!

Finally!

Why am I rejoicing, you may ask?

Because the weather has changed. It’s a lot cooler, the humidity has vanished and I can begin on some winter cooking.

Think long, slow braises.

Robust, red wines and cozy fireplaces. (Not that I own a fireplace. Just thought I would set the scene…).

The other day I went back through the archives here on Souvlaki For The Soul and I came across my lamb shanks with soft polenta recipe. It struck me that I hadn’t cooked polenta in ages and I wanted to revist this ingredient again.

Polenta is one of those ingredients that people either love or hate. Maybe it has something to do with the texture?

I know a few of my Italian friends refer to it as “peasant food”. Nothing wrong with peasant food, I say! All I know is that with a little love and care it’s tasty and works well with “saucy type” of dishes.

0313_polpette_con_polenta_002-3
0313_polpette_con_polenta_002-2

Today I’ve chosen to pair the polenta with some traditional, Italian meatballs a.k.a. “polpette”.

These on the other hand are loved by most people. Apart from vegetarians I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t like them!

I’ve tackled these before however I used to fry them off before I cooked them in a sauce. This time I was advised to cook them straight in the sauce and I believe they turned out just as good. Plus it saves you an extra step in the cooking process which can only be a good thing.

I used good quality minced beef and went by “feel” when I was kneading the mixture. Initially it felt a little dry so I added an extra egg to the mixture plus a little extra grated Parmesan.

Use the recipe as a guide and trust your instincts. In my opinion, that’s what cooking should be all about. I’ve aslo made the polenta a little “wetter” than I was used to it and it worked perfectly.

The recipe may look like a lot of steps but I’ve produced it using the sequence I follow.

Make sure you have loads of Parmesan on hand and a good red!

Bring on the cooler weather I say!

Italian meatballs with soft polentaItalian meatballs with soft polenta

POLPETTE WITH POLENTA RECIPE

Makes approx. 35-40 meatballs

Ingredients For the Polpette or Meatballs:

  • 1 kilo minced beef
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups freshly chopped parsley
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

Instructions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and knead until the mixture feels soft and pliable. If it feels too wet add a little extra Parmesan and/or breadcrumbs. If it feels a little dry add another egg.
  2. Using wet hands, pinch a little of the mixture (using the space between your thumb and forefinger as a guide) and roll into balls. (Use the size and shape of a golf ball as a another guide).
  3. Once all the meatballs are rolled out, set them aside as you prepare your sauce.

 

Ingredients For the sugo or sauce:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 600 grams passata or canned tomatoes
  • 1 cup basil, finely shredded
  • salt and pepper to season

Instructions:

  1. Heat up a pot with the olive oil and fry off the garlic until aromatic (2-3 mins).
  2. Add the tomato sauce and the basil and allow to cook on a medium to low heat for 20 mins.
  3. Once the sauce is cooked place your meatballs in the sauce ensuring they are covered and cook on a low heat for 30 mins.
  4. Once cooked set the pot aside and make the polenta

Ingredients For the polenta:

I used this recipe as a guide

  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup of instant polenta
  • 75 grams butter
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt for seasoning

Instructions:

  1. Combine the water and milk in a suace pan over a medium high heat and bring to the boil.
  2. Slowly add the polenta, whilst using a ballon whisk to mix everything together.
  3. Continue to stir untl the mixture begins to thicken (this can takle anywhere between 5-7 mins).
  4. Once thickened add the butter, Parmesan and salt and mix until soft and creamy.
  5. To serve, dollop some polenta onto a plate, top with polpette and sauce and garnish with extra Parmesan and parsley.

0313_polpette_con_polenta_005