Meatballs – Polpette

Polpette is a classic Italian favorite loved all over the world! There are so many different variations and cooking styles depending on what part of Italy you’re in. Also these little beauties are not limited to just meat! Fish and veggie polpette exist too and are equally delicious. This recipe is more traditional in the sense of “what you think when you think MEATBALL”. We made our own tomato sauce using fresh plum tomatoes which is truly out of this world. But if you’re crushed for time open a can of San Marazano tomatoes, add some fresh basil and garlic and call it a day!

Side note: THIS WAS OUR 30th EPISODE!!! šŸ„³

Meatballs - Polpette with Pomodoro

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Traditional Meatballs with Homemade Fresh Tomato Sauce!


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • Salt/black pepper
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano grated
  • 1/2 cup onion finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves finely diced
  • fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 egg
  • a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 12 plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil plus more for cooking
  • salt
  • 3 springs basil
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • parmigiano for topping
  • fresh basil thinly sliced for topping


  1. In a large mixing bowl add beef/pork and season with salt and pepper. Break up the meat to slightly mix all together. Add the rest of the meatball ingredients and mix together with hands until all combined. Taking 2 tbsp of meat mixture form into balls and place of parchment paper lined baking sheet. Put meatballs into freezer before cooking and while making the sauce.
  2. On the bottom side of plum tomatoes cut a CROSS on the skin. Bring water to a boil and add tomatoes for 30 seconds each then immediately transfer into an ice bath in a large bowl. This step will loosen the skin and become easy to peel. If the tomato skin is not peeling off easily just add back into boiling water for a few seconds and try again. Once all tomatoes are peeled, but into quarters and slice out seeds/core leaving only the “meaty” part of the tomato. **save all juices/seeds/inner parts for another project: makes a great pizza topping or salsa** After deseeding cut the quarters in half and your tomatoes are ready to be cooked.
  3. In a large stock pot add a little olive oil and turn heat to med/high. Add tomatoes and cook for 5 mins until they soften up. Mash down tomatoes using a potato masher for a few minutes. Once all tomatoes have been mashed down to a sauce, season with salt and take the heat to med/low. Continue to stir and cook for 20 mins.
  4. In a small sauce pan add 1/2 cup of olive oil, garlic, basil, and red pepper flakes. Turn heat to med/low and cook until garlic is slightly golden and basil leaves are wilted (5-8 mins). Take off heat, set aside, and let steep for 5 mins. Strain the oil and save the fried garlic/basil solids for another recipe. Add half of infused oil (1/4 cup) to your tomato sauce and store remaining oil in an airtight container (great for ANYTHING). Now your sauce is ready. Take off heat.
  5. In a dutch oven/large pot with lid, add olive oil and heat high. Take meatballs out of freezer and brown them into pot on each side. Brown meatballs in a few batches and then set aside. Let the pot cool down before adding in the sauce. Once cool, add meatballs back in and cover with tomato sauce. Put flame back on to med/low heat. Make sure all meatballs are submerged into sauce and cover for 45 mins. Take off lid give it a stir and continue cooking for 15 mins.
  6. For plating, take out meatballs, and add thinly cut fresh basil leaves to remaining sauce. Then cover meatballs with sauce and top with parmigiano and more fresh basil.

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