Sunday, April 3, 2011

Polpette Al Vino Rosso For My Brother!

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If you are looking for Italian meatballs cooked in tomato sauce with red wine, this isn't it.  What this is is the most delicate of meatballs cooked in red wine with a dark red wine sauce at the end.  The best compliment came from my brother who proclaimed them the best meatballs he'd ever had and immediately took out a piece of paper to write the recipe.  That he's never done before so how's that for an endorsement!

This recipe is loosely adapted from Lorenza de Medici's.  When I served the original dish I made it exactly as the recipe called for/  We loved the meatballs but were a bit disappointed in the sauce or lack of it.  When my brother came and it was just the two of us for dinner one night, I had some uncooked ones in the freezer and decided to experiment with the sauce by adding more wine, a little tomato and some pasta water.  The result was extraordinary.

I would skip the spaghetti and serve with a baguette, a green salad and a nice bottle of wine.  That is all you need!


3/4 lbs ground veal**
3/4 lbs ground sirloin
handful country bread soaked in milk and squeezed dry
1 TB dry mustard
2 TB fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 TB grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
1 C all purpose flour
2 TB unsalted butter
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup Pomi Chopped tomatoes*

In a bowl combine the meats, bread, mustard, parsley, garlic, eggs and Parmesan.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. and mix with your hands until all ingredients are perfectly blended.  Form into round patties, about  inch long and dust with flour, wiping out excess.  (Do this right before you sautee)

In a frying pan, melt the butter with the oil.  Add patties and brown on both sides, turning gently, about 5 minutes.  Pour 1/2 cup wine and bring to a boil, reduce.  Add 1/2 Cup of Pomi chopped tomatoes, cover and cook for about 30 minutes.  Uncover and add another 1/2 cup of wine.  Let it reduce a bit.  If cooking pasta add some of the pasta water if needed.

*Pomi chopped tomatoes can be found in most grocery stores where the canned tomatoes are found.

Pomi Chopped Tomatoes 26.46 oz.

**the original recipe calls for 1/2 lbs ground chicken, 1/2 lbs ground pork and 1/2 lbs ground veal.


  1. You realize, of course, I shall have to the give up the IKEA meatballs now. Darn! The recipe reads wonderfully.

  2. I love you. I don't know who you are but I really, really love you.

  3. Thanks Barry, whatever the Ikea meatballs are.


    Thank you...I love you too.

  4. I guess I should expand so you don't think I'm a weirdo (although my family does). I just love this blog - I subscribe to many food blogs but this one is fast becoming my "go-to" for just about everything. You have this uncanny ability to post exactly what I am craving (even though I may not realise it until I see the picture). I've made so many things from your blog and they've all been good. I've made entire menus from your blog. I am not a beginner cook either - I am 50 years old with an entire basement full of old Gourmet magazines (would rather part with my first born). When I saw this meatball recipe it spoke to my viscera. My mother was a meatballer to the day she died. I have all her old meatball recipes.
    Thank you!
    ps Ikea is a furniture store that is so large and takes so long to go through that it has a restaurant half way through that sells cheap Swedish meatballs and also frozen bags to take home.

  5. Dear Carol,

    I'm overwhelmed...thank you for all the nice compliments. I really strive to post things that I like to eat whether it's a recipe that is 40 years old or something new that I have just tried. I also believe in not guilding the lily. If it is good in a simple form why tweak it.

    Thank you again for writing and please do so more often. I would love to hear how things turn out for you.

  6. Oh and thank you for the Ikea/meatball explanation. Had no clue what he was talking about. Goes to show you how many times I've been to the store!

  7. I also like your dog. I had a JRT named Heidi. I'm a terrier person.
    I'm making Macaroons today - my first time. I was hoping you'd post that macaroon recipe from your birthday with Pierre Herme. I should be okay though as I'm an old hand at meringue mushrooms and the piping style is similar. Wish me luck!


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