Authentic Polpette (Meatballs)



When people think of meatballs, they think, spaghetti and meatballs, and that’s good too, however, meatballs are also great as starters for a dinner party or as a meal on their own with a salad.

Polpette’s as they are called in Italy, are one of those recipes where Italian families will claim theirs is the best recipe and the only way to make them. There are a variety of ways to make these mouthwatering, little balls, however, I will say that my version of polpette’s (a recipe handed down from my mother which was handed down from her mother in Italy) is one of the more delectable ways of producing a yummylicious meatball.

The secret to excellent meatballs is for them to be moist on the inside (you get the moistness by adding milk and bread as I will show you below) and golden brown on the outside with a bit of bite, so that you get a variety of textures, teasing your taste buds.


1 pound medium lean ground beef

1 pound lean ground pork

1 pound lean ground veal

1 cup milk

1 baguette (best to use a few days old bread, best if it is hardened, remove the crust)

1/2 cup Romano cheese (freshly grated)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan (freshly grated)

3 TBSP fresh Italian parsley (chopped)

2 eggs – (lightly beaten)

4 egg whites – (lightly beaten)

2 tsp. Kosher salt

2 tsp. black pepper



1.  Tear the baguette in small pieces. You can chop it up in a food processor if you like.

2.  In a small pot, heat the milk, stirring constantly, until the milk is steamy.

3.  Turn off the heat and remove pot from the stove.

4.  Add the bread to the milk and let it soak, until all the milk is dissolved in the bread.

4.  Mash it until the bread and milk resembles a paste.

5.  Let the bread paste cool.

6.  In a large bowl, combine the following: beef, pork, veal, Parmesan and Romano cheeses, eggs, egg whites, salt, parsley, black pepper, and the bread-milk mixture.

7.  Mix everything well with your hands. Try not to work the mixture too hard and for too long, as you don’t want the mixture to be too tough. You just want to work it so that all the Ingredients: are well blended.

8.  Roll one meatball and if you find the mixture is a bit too wet, then add a bit more cheese.

9.  If you find the mixture a bit too dry, add more egg whites.

10.  You will able to tell if everything is just right, by rolling one ball, and if it all stays together in a ball, then you don’t have to add anything extra.



11.  Preheat oven to 400 F.

12.  Prepare a baking sheet either by spraying a non-stick spray or lining it with parchment paper.

13.  You can roll the meatballs any size you like. A good size for serving with a main dish (like pasta) is between two to three inches, however, for an appetizer, you can go smaller if you wish.

14.  Place the meatballs on the baking sheet and bake until fully cooked through (internal temperature of 160F (about 20 minutes). The length of time that they need to be baked will depend on the size you are rolling the meatballs.




15 responses to “Authentic Polpette (Meatballs)”

  1. Selena I love meat balls this sounds so yummy I can’t wat to try them. Thank you


  2. I make “Irish”meatballs, yours sound amazing!!!! A friend taught me the trick of baking them instead of rolling them around in a hot pan. So much easier!
    I LOVE my Cook Like a Writer cookbook! From now on Polpette will be my go to word. “We’re having gravy and polpettes for dinner”. Did I sound Italian? LOL
    Thanks for the great recipe as always Selena…….xo


    1. Hi, Pat, glad you are enjoying the cookbook. Irish meatballs? Perhaps I should have Gitte and you submit your meatball recipes so we can have a meatball throw down.


  3. YUM! Might just have to make them for dinner!


  4. Hi Selena! I love your notes to us FBIs. Turn your head or close your eyes. Currants! Barbecue sauce! What a sacrilege!!! Lol. Just like jar sauce, right? Which I will admit I have used from time to time :).
    Anyway, your meatball recipe is very similar to my family’s recipe. We use bread also but soak it in water. It makes the meatballs nice and moist. Spaghetti and meatballs is my very favorite meal and always requested of my mom on my birthday :). Everyone try this recipe, you will never eat meatballs out again! (Another FBI thing :))


    1. Hi, Scarlet, I know it is sacrilege to add BBQ sauce or currants, but I wanted to give the non-F.B.I. folks some alternatives.

      Meatballs and fresh tomato, basil sauce is my favorite food as well, with gluten-free pasta.

      I should have added a gluten-free recipe for this. For myself, I use quinoa instead of the bread, tastes just as good, and I probably add more parsley than others would add, because I love the aroma.

      (I have resorted to jar sauce in emergencies…shhhhhhhh) LOL


  5. These sound so good. I need to put these on my cooking schedule very, very soon. I love your recipes. I can’t think of one that I’ve made that I didn’t devour.


    1. Hi, LB (aka partner in blogging about mothers and sex LOL) thanks for popping in and so glad you are enjoying the recipes. I think you’ll all love this one.

      To make this gluten-free, use quinoa in the milk instead of bread, everything else is good to go.


  6. Sounds yummy. I’ll add it to my TBC (to be cooked) list 🙂


    1. Hi, Heidi, thanks. TBC – love that.


  7. […] *** Optional *** You can add authentic polpette’s (meatballs) after your sauce has cooked for about an hour. Let the meatballs simmer with the sauce. My authentic meatball recipe can be found by clicking HERE. […]


  8. […] you’d like to serve the pasta with meatballs, you can find my meatball recipe on my blog. Please click […]


  9. […] sauce pairs extremely well with laughter, family and friends, pasta, meatballs, chicken dishes, bread, the possibilities are endless for dishes that welcomes the delicious […]


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