Homey and comfort food at its best, the aroma of meatballs on the stove brings back feel-good memories. Italians do not serve them atop a bed of spaghetti, as Americans do, however. Pasta is one course, meat is another, so polpettine are served either as an appetizer (when made in bite sized balls) or as a main course. Cooking them in broth keeps them so moist and give them a rich flavor not masked by heavy tomato sauce. I like to pair them with a green vegetable and a bean side dish, such as the beans with radicchio (in the May, 2005 archives).
1 pound ground beef, turkey or combination
1 Italian sausage link
a handful of parsley, chopped
lemon zest of half a lemon
2 handfuls of dry breadcrumbs
1 to 2 eggs
Broth and/or wine
Combine everything except the broth or wine. Mix well and form into balls.
Heat olive oil in a large, heavy skillet. Fry the meatballs til browned on all sides. Add a splash of wine or broth, let it steam and evaporate, then add more to come up about halfway on the meatballs. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until the liquid thickens and the meatballs are cooked through. Serve with a drizzle of the pan juices over top.
c 2006 Valerie Schneider