Polpette alla Bolognese!
*Meatballs in Tomato Meat Sauce*
by Chef Caylena
This is a host’s dream dish! It simply doesn’t get better than this!
These are the meatballs that will fill your table with undeniable love and joy. These are the meatballs that will make your friends envious of you every time they try to host, wishing they were back at your house, and these are the meatballs that have your guest salivating the moment they walk in the room and excited every time they’re invited over -in hopes that you’re making them again. They are pretty exceptional for hosting… anything and everything.
Excellent for accumulating in the kitchen, turning this into your party event. Where friends, kids, and grandparents will love building together and creating memories! We’re braising them in the tomato sauce, which developes into the most heavenly bolognese, while keeping the meatballs juicy, tender, and bursting with flavor all while keeping an impressive texture.
These are a lot of fun to make and require a bit of time. Like all food - it takes heart. Roll up your sleeves, and get your hands dirty, pour a glass of wine, and put all your love into them. This is not a dish you rush, there are no shortcuts… but Trust me… You’ll be Cherished!
Time: 1 hour prep - less the more hands involved. 1 ½ hr - 4hr cooking time. (Shoot for 4!) 20 min Sit time.
Difficulty: Moderate Clean up: Well you’ve got the time while it’s cooking...
Ingredients: 24 Meatballs -golfball sized
*Expect a few to break- which adds to the amazing Sauce!
- 1 lb ground Veal
- 1 lb ground Beef
- 1 lb ground Pork (I use Hot Italian Sausage - casing removed.)
- ⅔ Cup Chicken Stock
- 2 Whole Eggs
- 2 Egg Yolks
- 1 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese (not grated the texture will be nicer) Plus More for garnish
- 2 cups Panko -or - good quality non flavored bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup Parsley - chopped - Plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup Dill
- 2 Shallots - finely chopped
- 1 tsp crushed Garlic
- 1 tsp Red Chili Pepper Flakes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp White Pepper
- ½ cup -or more - Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for searing the meat balls. Plus a couple drops for hands while rolling.)
- 2 Quarts your favorite Tomato Sauce (mix with 1 cup water )
- ¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar
- Use 2 Cast Iron pans for the best results, or cook in batches changing oil as needed. *Don't crowd the balls!
- Have your dutch oven with lid ready full of warm sauce.
- Slotted Spoon & Tongs
- Non stick surface for the balls after rolled.
- 2 Mixing Bowls
Start with the sauce - get it nice and warm ready for the meatballs, then set aside not to splash in the skillets, like shown above. It will thicken greatly over time.
In the Small Bowl : ¼ Cup Cheese, 1 ¼ Cup Panko, & Dill
In the larger bowl: Meat, Eggs & Yolks, Parsley, rest of Cheese, rest of Panko, Chili Flakes, Shallots, Chicken Stock, Garlic, and Salt.
Olive Oil is for the pans, and the Balsamic is for the end.
Fold & mix together by hand to incorporate everything. Gently! You Do NOT want to overwork the meat! This is how your meatballs are going to be light rather than dense & heavy. You’re hands have more control than a tool & you can literally feel when you’re finished.
The meat is going to be slightly wet, but this is why we’re going to roll them in the panko - it’ll give a nice golden crust as well. Use olive oil if needed on your hands, then shape into golf ball sizes - again GENTLY - aggravating the meat as little as possible. Then lightly coat balls in the panko mixture.
Put enough oil to generously coat bottom of pan. Heat at Med - High until oil is hot. Carefully with tongs (try to keep shape,) place balls in pans, start with one pan, go in a circle, then the next pan. Carefully rotate balls to get all sides golden. Watch out for the oil spits!
Using your slotted spoon, gently pull out one at a time, dropping in sauce softly. Don’t worry about excess oil. Careful not to splash!
Once they’re all in your sauce, discard your oils and pans. Turn sauce back on to Med-High until it begins to simmer. Any extra meat you might have break it up to tiny pieces and toss it directly into the sauce! (As is, not rolled in the panko.)
Then cover with a slight opening, letting steam out, keeping at the smallest simmer. Your house will start to smell unbelieveable!
Stir ever so often, making sure to scrape the bottom so that it doesn’t burn. Gently not to break your balls ;)
The sauce reduced & thickened, some balls broke down, all making your Bolognese brilliant!
Once your Bolognese & Polpette are finished - turn off the heat, add the Balsamic Vinegar.
Let sit without the lid to steam out excess water, thicken, & soak in the vinegar for 20-30 minutes before serving… this step is really important, it really makes a difference.
I hosted a Cocktail Party & Game Night with tons of food, too much food, including gourmet pizza’s from scratch, beautifully stuffed roasted peppers, cheese platters, etc. Everyone ate whenever they chose and served themselves, so I left the meatballs in the pot on the stove to keep hot (with bread to soak up the sauce)... Thinking I had made 3x too many, especially with everything else available - at the end of the night, there wasn’t even a drop of sauce left! There came a point everyone was full, but couldn’t stand to leave leftovers! They all but licked their plates and scraped the pot clean! So keep this in mind when deciding how much you’ll need to make. Make plenty - this is not a dish you will have leftovers, regardless how hungry anyone is.
*If you want to make these in advance, wrap them well with plastic wrap as to not dry them out - keep in refrigerator 2 days… after meat was thawed or purchased. -OR- keep frozen well wrapped for up to 6 months, though add panko after defrosting, not before.
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