Recipe for Polpette – small Italian meatballs – with a creamy Parmesan Sauce
For the polpette:
500g beef mince
250g pork or chicken mince (I used pork)
½ tsp salt
4 tbs breadcrumbs
1 jumbo egg
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp lemon zest
third of a teaspoon nutmeg
6 tbs freshly grated parmesan or pecorino
olive oil for frying
For the sauce:
1 bay leaf
1 fat garlic clove, in its skin but whacked with something blunt to open it
¼ cup water
1 ½ cups cream
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ cup freshly grated parmesan or pecorino
squeeze of lemon juice
salt and black pepper to taste
Mix together the polpette ingredients. Use your 1-tbs measuring spoon to scoop out even amounts of mince mix and roll into perfect little meatballs. Fry in olive oil until evenly browned. You’ll need to do this in batches to prevent your oil from getting too cold, and you may need to add a bit more oil as you go along.
Set the polpette aside and pour off excess oil. Put the pan back on the heat and add the water to deglaze the pan and lift all those lovely brown bits from the bottom.
Now add the cream, bay leaf and garlic clove and cook until reduced by half. Remove the bay and garlic. Stir in the parmesan and nutmeg, taste for salt and adjust as needed. Give it a pinch of black pepper too.
Place the polpette in the cream sauce to warm through briefly and give it a squirt of lemon juice right at the end just to liven things up. Serve with crusty bread, rice or pasta.
Notes: Quick tomato sauce for pasta
If you prefer a super quick tomato sauce for these polpette instead of the cream sauce, simply:
Fry one red onion in plenty of olive oil until soft. Add two finely sliced cloves of garlic, two tins of tomatoes, one bay leaf, a pinch of red chilli, a teaspoon of sugar and half a beef stock cube.
Turn the heat right down, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and blitz sauce in your food processor or with a stick blender until smooth. Return the sauce to the pan to heat through and stir in a couple of tablespoons fresh cream. Taste for salt and adjust as necessary.