/Polpette at Donna Teresa, Naples

Polpette at Donna Teresa, Naples

Meatballs - Polpette

Polpette, fist-sized meatballs, make a delicious Saturday lunch. At Donna Teresa in Naples, they are fried in a pan of oil and served with contorni (vegetable side dishes), but at my house, they were cooked in tomato sauce and served over spaghetti. As much as the idea of primo and secondo on one plate makes an Italian today cringe, it was good enough for my Sicilian great-grandparents, so who am I to judge?

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  1. Mamma Parla February 28, 2010 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    Just made a batch of meatballs! I do enjoy them more with spaghetti. And when and if there are leftovers, they are great served on italian bread (preferably with sesame seeds) and sprinkled with cheese! Guess what I’m having for dinner?

  2. Tom March 1, 2010 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    Ah, such fond memories of meatballs while growing up. My mother would fry them in rendered pork fat (!!!) and I’d always have to have one before it took it’s final plunge into the gravy (yes, we say gravy) that had been simmering on the back burner. And I agree with Mamma Parla: meatballs sandwiches on Italian bread are indeed great. But you know, once in a while, we’d sneak one on Wonder bread when I was a kid and it was so tasty! lol

  3. papa parla March 4, 2010 at 10:56 am - Reply

    ok, i think i’ve banished the computer gremlins. here we go again. many, if not most meatball recipes call for browning them in oil or in the oven. this does a bunch of things to the meatballs. browning the meat tightens the meat and sets the shape. i’m a big fan of browning. browning is basically burning the outside of the meat and gives a depth and smokiness to the meat. burning food is actually a cooking technique. browning also “seals in flavor”. if you prepare the meatballs properly, this step is moot. the problem is that all this handling and browning and fussing make the meat tough. right now, i have a pot of meatballs brewing over super low heat and they will gestate overnight, while i sleep. this is so funny. when i was living with my parents, we had no night light in the kitchen. i remember the light from the low flame of the stove. as i think of it now, the stove was always on.

    i have to say something about mom’s meatballs and sauce. mom and i planted a garden at our first house on village road. 10 x 20 as i remember. mom planted a variety of veggies and 20 plum tomato plants. at the end of the season, we needed a helicopter to harvest the tomatoes. mom made the most spectacular tomato sauce with that fruit. that sauce with here meatballs…priceless.

  4. Wade Chavoustie November 23, 2010 at 4:34 pm - Reply

    Man, my grandmomma was from Sicily and she made the most delicious meatballs I ever tasted, like you had died and gone to meatball heaven. Sadly, she died last year and she didnt leave a single recipe for me so I’ve been trying to work it out by myself… slowly working my through the meatball recipes here, I still cant figure out what her secret ingredient was though!!!

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