Recipes

Categories
More >

Tuscan Meatballs

When Iris made her delicate olive-sized polpettine, and served them as an antipasto, I felt honored because in an Italian home you would not be served them unless you were considered family. Meatballs are for many of us a symbol of comfort food, and a part of true casalinga or home cooking. They originated as a holdover from the days when there was little refrigeration, making it necessary to use up leftover meat trimmings, or boiled meats that had been used to make broth. So polpette (meatballs) were born and vary in their ingredients from place to place. One thing is certain, you will never have a dish of spaghetti in Italy served with meatballs since they are traditionally a second course served apart from the pasta course. The following is my adaptation of Iris' recipe. To make the job simple, everything can be prepared using a food processor; as Iris cautions, the secret to the tender texture is to grind everything very fine. SERVES 8 TO 10 as a second course or 24 as part of an antipasto.
-

Ingredients

3/4 pound cooked roast beef

1/4 pound (4 slices) mortadella with black peppercorns or pistachio nuts

1/4 cup parsley leaves

1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms soaked in 1/2 cup warm water

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

Grinding coarse black pepper

1/2 cup prepared besciamella sauce

Flour for coating meatballs

Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil for frying

Directions

Grind the roast beef, mortadella, and parsley in a food processor until it is very fine. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

Drain the water from the porcini, pat them dry and chop them coarsely. Melt the butter in a small sauté pan and cook the porcini for 2 or 3 minutes and then add them to the meat. Stir in the eggs, cheese, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and the besciamella sauce. Mix all the ingredients until well combined.

Use about 1/4 cup of the meat mixture to form each meatball. Place them on a baking sheet. Or make smaller meatballs as desired.
Place some flour on a plate. Lightly roll each meatball in the flour; shake off the excess and place them on a platter. Cover and refrigerate them for at least 1 hour.

Heat 3 cups of the oil in a deep fryer or heavy duty pot and when the oil registers 375 F, it is ready for frying. Fry the meatballs a few at a time in the oil until they are golden brown. Remove them with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel-lined try to drain.

Serve the meatballs warm on a bed of arugola leaves.

Note: Iris used olive oil to fry the meatballs but sunflower oil works well too and gives a slightly lighter taste.

The meatballs will cook faster if you use a small size skillet.

This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA IN TUSCANY by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin's Press in 2003.

This recipe was originally featured on Season 13 - Episode 1314.

Comments

  1. Laine Ciccotti's avatar

    Laine Ciccotti

    Saw these "again" May 10 show..had to lookup the recipe again. Made them when I saw the show in the fall...but left recipe @ home....the most unique recipe, came out so beautiful w/ raves! I'm making today, got smart & pinned too! The bechamel, best design & technique! Did the pot roast in slow cooker & served last night, so using today's remainder for this! Adore that thought, no repeats..
  2. Sophie's avatar

    Sophie

    Great show and SCETV is outstanding. I'm making Tuscan meatballs for Super Bowl Sunday!
  3. Carol's avatar

    Carol

    Would love to try this...but it wont let me save it with pinterest 😕

Leave a Comment

Looking for even more photos and recipes?
Pre-order my latest book.

Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy

Mary Ann's newest book contains over 150 recipes, 60 gorgeous food photos, and lots of scenic pictures of Italy taken by Mary Ann on her travels through the years.

Pre-order using this link and receive a signed book plate with your order.

Release date: November 1, 2018