Meatballs (polpettine) - Antipasto (Starter), Secondo (Main Course)

April 13, 2015
0 Ratings
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

Meatballs are a symbolic Italian food outside of Italy. Although in Italy meatballs are rarely on the menu. Meatballs are served as main courses but often not with pasta like they are abroad. I prefer to steam them so that they stay juicy and soft. They can also be baked. —woo wei-duan

What You'll Need
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 60 milliliters milk
  • 60 milliliters olive oil, plus more for coating the bowl
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped pinch of chilli flakes
  • 2 slices pancetta, finely cubed
  • 1 rosemary branch, washed
  • 60 milliliters dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup pecorino romano, finely grated
  • 3 slices prosciutto, finely chopped
  • 175 grams ground veal
  • 200 grams chicken thigh, finely chopped by hand or ground chicken
  • 200 grams sausages (preferably Italian or just quite plain), cut from their casings
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 recipe simple tomato sauce
  1. Put the breadcrumbs into a bowl and cover with the milk.
  2. Over medium heat, warm a frying pan and add the olive oil to the pan. When warm, fry the fennel seeds, onion, garlic, chilli, pancetta, rosemary and parsley.
  3. Fry until the onion is soft and starting to colour, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the white wine to the onion mixture.
  5. Cook until the wine has nearly all evaporated, about 5 minutes. Leave the mixture to cool and discard the rosemary.
  6. In a large bowl, add the Parmigiano-Reggiano, pecorino, prosciutto, veal, chicken, sausages, soaked breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, lemon juice and the cooled onion mixture.
  7. Using your hands rub the mixture between your thumbs and your fingers to really mix the ingredients together, being careful not to over mix. There should be no visible chunks of individual ingredients as the whole thing should be amalgamated.
  8. The meatballs will be steamed so you need to find a container with a rim to hold your sauce which fits inside your steamer or pot fitted with a steamer. Lightly oil the container with olive oil.
  9. Using your hands, roll the meat mixture into walnut sized balls.
  10. Place the meatballs in the short-lipped bowl .
  11. Cover the bowl with cling film. Place the container in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.
  12. When ready to use the meatballs, remove the cling film from the bowl. Pour water into a casserole deep enough to hold a steamer and the bowl. The water should not reach the bottom of the bowl. Place the steamer in the casserole.
  13. Place the bowl on top of the steamer, cover the meatballs with the tomato garlic sauce.
  14. Place the lid on the casserole. Turn the burner onto medium heat until the water begins to turn to steam, 5 to 7 minutes. Steam the meatballs for 10 minutes (add the pasta to the boiling water after the first 5 minutes) and then remove the meatballs from the heat, leaving the lid on and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  15. NOTES:
  16. The meatballs can be baked, covered, in the oven at 160 C for 30 to 45 minutes.
  17. To make in the Vorwerk Thermomix Bimby:
  18. Place a small bowl in the mixing bowl lid and weigh in 15 grams breadcrumbs and 60 grams of milk. Set the bowl aside and leave to soak.
  19. Place 50 grams Parmigiano-Reggiano and 50 grams pecorino cheese in the mixing bowl and chop 10 sec/speed 10. Remove from the bowl and set aside.
  20. Add 200 gms chicken thighs to the mixing bowl and chop Turbo/1 sec/3 times. Remove from the bowl and set aside.
  21. Place 1 garlic clove, 1 onion, 2 slices of pancetta, 3 slices of prosciutto, 1 rosemary branch, leaves removed and 25 grams parlsey into the mixing bowl and chop 8sec/speed 7.
  22. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl. Add a pinch of chilli flakes, 2 grams of fennel seeds and 60 mls olive oil to the mixing bowl. Saute 3min/120C/speed 1.
  23. Add 60 mls of white wine to the bowl. Saute 5min/Varoma/speed 1.
  24. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano, pecorino, 175 gms veal, chicken thighs, 200 gms sausages, soaked breadcrumbs, 5 grams salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and ½ lemon juiced to the mixing bowl. Mix 10sec/speed 5. Transfer to a bowl.
  25. Grease the Varoma dish and tray. With oiled hands, shape the mixture into walnuts sized balls and place them into the Varoma dish and tray.
  27. Place 3 cloves of garlic, 8 basil leaves and 40 grams of olive oil in the mixing bowl. Chop 7sec/Speed 5.
  28. Add 800 grams tomatoes (or 600 gms tomato passata) and 2 grams of salt. Place the Varoma dish and tray into position and cook for 25 min/Varoma/speed 2.
  29. Optional step for children to make a smoother sauce: blend 1 min/speed 10.
  30. Serve the meatballs in the sauce.

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