Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Italian Meatballs in Tomato Sauce - Polpette al Sugo

 Nothing like a plate full of scrumptious homemade Italian meatballs (polpette) to make your lunch or dinner special

You can never go wrong with a nice plate of juicy, saucey and tender meatballs. 
In Italy, meatballs (polpette) are generally served as a secondo piatto, with vegetables on the side and a slice or two of fresh bread to soak up all the sauce. 

There are several ways to make meatballs. 
You can use any type of ground meat that you prefer. Beef would be the traditional choice (I like ground beef or you can choose a lean ground beef) OR meatballs are also great with ground veal or ground pork, or any combination of the three.

To make the perfect meatballs, you can either fry or bake your meatballs. 

The classic Italian meatball recipe (from my cookbook below) says you should pan-fry the meatballs. Simply heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil ina large skillet,  over medium heat and add the meatballs. Brown on each side, carefully when turning them (don't turn too often or they might break).

Alternatively, for a healthier alternative, you can bake them as I do in the recipe below. It's a little faster, and healthier and the result is just as delicious. 

To bake: Place the meatballs on a baking pan (baking sheet or dutch oven),  drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil, and bake in the preheated oven at 375F for about 30 minutes (less if you make smaller meatballs)

Remove from the sheet pan and place in a large pot, top with homemade marinara sauce, and flavor with fresh basil and or oregano.  If you are using a Dutch oven you can keep them in the same pan!

Cover the pan and simmer over medium-low for about 20 minutes (depending on the size of the polpette) or until the meatballs are cooked through. 

Most important thing: Be careful not to stir the meatballs too much or they will break. Simply swirl around the pot until the meatballs are covered with sauce. To check for doneness, cut one meatball in the middle and make sure it's cooked through but still moist and soft, for the perfect tender and juicy meatballs!

Serve on a plate topped with more sauce, and fresh basil, and garnish with red pepper flakes and/or grated Parmesan cheese or Pecorino Romano if you like!

As you will see down here, this recipe comes from my NEW COOKBOOK. 
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook I'm sure you've seen that The Complete Italian Cookbook was just released this week. Super exciting! 
After months of work, it is finally out in the world. From coast to coast across the U.S. and beyond, my book is now available for sale .. and ready to join you in your kitchen. 
Make sure to check it out here, grab a copy for yourself and let me know what you think.
Thank you again for all your support. It means the world to me! 🤗❤️ 

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Storing meatballs properly is essential to maintain their quality and ensure food safety. Here are some guidelines on how to store meatballs... assuming you have any leftovers!
Refrigerate:  If you plan to consume the meatballs within 3 or 4 days, store them in the refrigerator. 
Make sure to cool to room temperature. Place the meatballs in an airtight container or covered tightly with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out and absorbing other odors.

Freeze:  If you want to store meatballs for a longer period (more than a few days), freezing is the best option. 
Cool down to room temperature and place the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze them individually. Once frozen, transfer them to a sealed container or a resealable plastic bag to prevent freezer burn and maintain quality.
Consider using a vacuum sealer to remove air and create an airtight seal. This helps prevent freezer burn and extends the shelf life of the meatballs.
Meatballs can generally be stored in the freezer for 2-3 months while maintaining good quality. After this period, they may still be safe to eat, but the texture and flavor may deteriorate.
When ready to use, thaw frozen meatballs in the refrigerator overnight. This ensures a gradual thawing process and reduces the risk of bacterial growth. 
Reheat refrigerated or thawed meatballs thoroughly before serving to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure food safety.

Buon appetito!

RECIPE CARD: Baked Italian Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

1 comment:

  1. We are a family of meatball lovers so these would be super popular in our house. And having fresh bread on the side to soak up all the sauce sounds like perfection to me. Thanks for sharing your recipe!