Wednesday, 13 September 2017 - , , , , , , , , , , , 4 comments

RECIPE : Polpettine (Little Tuscan Meatballs)

Well...I learnt something really interesting today while researching these little Tuscan meatballs. I learnt that in Italy they are NEVER served with pasta!
Having said that, my version of this dish is one of those beautifully versatile recipes. These tasty meatballs are baked in the oven in a delicious tomato and mushroom sauce. You can serve them as little appetisers,(as shown above), or with lashings of sauce on pasta, rice or with vegetables. (I won't tell anyone if you serve them with pasta!)


I've been making meatballs for many years and I've tried various methods. This one wins hands down for me because I pack so much flavour into the beef mixture, that the meatballs infuse with the sauce and the sauce infuses with the meatballs to make a truly delicious match made in heaven! I don't pre-fry my meatballs as they go hard like pellets. My trick is to put all the ingredients into a food processor to blend the mixture really fine, then literally form and drop them into the hot sauce to poach and bake in the oven. This way they have a roasted top but stay really moist.


This recipe works out to
19sp/20pp/approx.1231kcal for the WHOLE AMOUNT.
I've worked out some multiples for you....

1 polpettine=1sp/1pp/approx.37kcal


(For approx. 32-33 Polpettine)

For the Sauce:

1 tin Cherry tomatoes
1 700g jar passata
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1/2 tablespoon artificial granular sweetener
Small punnet of mushrooms

1/2 tablespoon Piri-Piri seasoning 
or a pinch of chilli flakes

For the Polpettine:

2 cloves garlic
1 small onion
Mixed fresh herbs; sage, parsley, thyme
6 spring onions
60g chorizo
450g Extra lean minced beef


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade.

Put a large, flat pan on the hob. Add the tomatoes, passata, sweetener, puree, thyme and bay leaves.

Add the sliced mushrooms and chilli flakes or Piri Piri seasoning if you want your sauce to have a little kick.
Slowly bring the sauce to the boil while you make the meatballs.

Put the onion, garlic and fresh herbs into a food processor. Blitz until finely chopped.

Add the spring onions. Blitz.
Add the chorizo. Blitz again until really finely chopped.

Add the extra lean ground beef. It's really important to have chopped the herbs and garlic mixture and the chorizo before adding the beef, or you will not be able to blend everything evenly.

Blend until you have a really fine mixture. It should look like sausage meat. This ensures no large lumps of meat in the polpettine and all your seasonings and flavours will be evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

Using a measuring spoon, scoop a flat tablespoon of mixture for each polpettine, before rolling by hand into a ball. This will ensure that each one is exactly the same size so you can propoint accurately.

 Roll into even little meatballs. I find this amount should make 32-33 perfect polpettine.

Drop each one gently into the hot sauce. You need to handle with care at this stage as they are soft until cooked. They squash easily.

Give each meatball its own space in the sauce.

Gently spoon a little sauce to cover each polpettine.

Bake, uncovered, in the oven for 50-60 minutes. Don't touch it, don't stir it. I went for a walk with the dog while these were cooking!
Check they don't burn, but they should look like this-just 'catching' on the top. 
You can eat them at this stage, but if you have time, cover the pan with foil, turn the oven off and let them 'sit' in the sauce for as long as possible. This kind of dish is always better "the next day".

If you decide to serve them as hot little appetisers like this, then you will have a wonderful zero-propointed mushroom and tomato sauce to have another time with pasta or vegetables. If you serve them in their sauce, remember to add any propoints for pasta or rice.



If you find your sauce thickens up too much, especially after a day, loosen it off with some boiling water when reheating.


Perfect little polpettine.




seenthelight 1 October 2012 at 22:50

Soooo inventive are you! Message from G - 'tell her it is a lot of balls'!! Trust him.

I make meat balls all the time but these will be on my menu to try later this week. Have not got around to doing the chicken dish yet either!!

Janey 2 October 2012 at 07:54

Look forward to the outcome of both! x

superiorpapers com review 3 October 2017 at 17:25

Polpettine looks so amazing and how well prepared its gravy is. How have you made its gravy so thick?I can't wait to try this dish.

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