If you plan on coming on this culinary ride with me just be warned, I love meatballs in every shape, size, meats or other ingredients, any cuisine, but of course I’m going to always fall back onto my Italian roots. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs open your mind to the reality of the Italian meatball, it’s not one type or recipe. Most likely when you hear the word you are seeing the Sunday Sauce type served up with pasta. Very delicious, everyone loves them. However there’s a bunch of regional varieties that are sure to become a welcome addition to your recipe file. Meatballs are served as their own main course, along with vegetables and potatoes. In Italy the pasta will always come as a PRIMO and be a course before the SECONDO, or second course. This recipe is a mix of different types of this POLPETTINE which is made delicious with the addition of ground Mortadella and lemon and it’s more of an Italian Salisbury steak, a patted down small oval rather than a ball. Don’t be confused my friend, it’s all good. Very good! Years ago I had a similar dish which I was told was from the Abruzzo , a region in Central Italy. I’ve also heard that this type might be found in Sicily OR Tuscany. Either way it’s moist, full of flavor and very very satisfying. Ready to cook? I am. Let’s GO!!
SERVES: 4-5 TIME: 1 HOUR
1 LB. GROUND VEAL
1/4 LB. FINELY CHOPPED MORTADELLA
1 LARGE BEATEN EGG
1 MINCED CLOVE OF GARLIC
4 SLICES OF GOOD WHITE BREAD OR 1/2 CUP STALE CRUST REMOVED ITALIAN BREAD, SOAKED IN MILK, THEN SQUEEZE THE MILK OUT.
1/2 CUP PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO
1 TSP. LEMON ZEST
JUICE OF ONE LEMON
2 TBS. OF CHOPPED ITALIAN FLAT LEAF PARSLEY
SALT, FRESH GROUND PEPPER
PINCH OF GROUND NUTMEG
sifted FLOUR (about 3 tbs)
1 PT. SLICED CHERRY OR GRAPE TOMATOES
3 SLICED CLOVES OF GARLIC
JUICE OF 2 LEMONS
1 TBS. SALT CURED CAPERS
2 TBS. VERMOUTH
3 sprigs FRESH OREGANO
ADD THE CHEESE, GARLIC, PEPPER, NUTMEG, ABOUT 1/4 TSP. SALT, LEMON ZEST AND JUICE ALL WITH THE EGG. Then using your hands mix the bread in followed by the ground mortadella and ground veal. Continue to mix until it’s all well blended. Form into about 8-10 patties no more than 2 1/2 inches long. Dredge on all sides in unseasoned unbleached flour. Let sit for a moment. In a large skillet heat about 1 1/2 tbs. olive oil and gently brown the POLPETTINE, about 5 minutes per side.
Don’t crowd the pan and don’t rush this!! Have a glass of Vermouth for yourself, just sayin. Relax. Cooking is fun. You should have fun. I want you to have fun! I’m having fun so you should too! Remove the polpettone to a platter and cover with foil. Add a little more olive oil to the pan and add the garlic and when they are just above golden, like in 2 minutes then add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil then reduce for 3 minutes. Now add the polpettine back into the pan and make sure the sauce has covered all sides of meat. For whatever reason I didn’t take a pic of the polpettone in the pan, but let this cook for at least 8 minutes. Now add the juice of 2 lemons and the capers. Check for seasoning, adjust if possible. Let this cook now on low until the juice is reduced by 1/2. Then you are done! Garnish the platter with fresh oregano. Of course I’m thinking I”m the pro food stylist for this photo shoot (lol..hardly any of that..I just had radicchio in the fridge so it became a bed for the polpettone. Arrange on a plate and coat the polpettone with tomatoes and garlic, there should not be a ton of sauce..but it’s deliciously concentrated. The egg, cheese, and the soaked bread plus the mortadella add moisture to the patties and they do not dry out. Wanna see inside of one?? Ok. Here is it—>
Shoe String or Thin Cut French fries and a plate of sauteed greens goes great with this dish. A crisp white wine, or sparkling water with lemon are a great accompaniment for the Polpettine. Doesn’t that look good?? Believe me yet about the world of meatballs? And they are NOT all Italian either! More to come…
Happy Cooking for now and enjoy the Lemon Veal Polpettine! I love when you are cooking with me!!