Recipe – Polpette di Carne (Meatballs)

Italian Meatball Recipe, Polpette

Polpette di Carne are just meatballs. AGAIN the Italians can make something so crude sounding in English sound so fab in their language. Anyway, these polpette are often served with a tomato sauce, but in my house, they are fried up and served as is, usually with a side salad – after the pasta of course. Speaking of which, Italians do not eat spaghetti with meatballs. They don’t mix the two. More on this subject can be found in this excellent article from the Smithsonian Make sure to scroll down to the end of the page to have a look at one of the sweetest scenes from the Disney movie, “Lady and the Tramp.”


24 ounces ground beef

6 ounces Italian sausage (casing removed)

2 cloves garlic minced

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

3/4 cup Pecorino or Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 egg yolk



oil for frying


1. In a large bowl, mix ground beef and sausage.

2. Add garlic, parsley,  breadcrumbs and cheese. Mix by hand until all ingredients are incorporated.

3. Add cream, egg, salt and pepper working again by hand and making sure all ingredients are mixed.

4. Form meatballs into the shape of a  somewhat flattened tennis ball.

5. In a large skillet, heat cooking oil on medium-high heat. Add the meatballs, working in batches if necessary, cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side. Lower heat to medium and cook until golden, about another 5-8 minutes.

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Italian Meatball Recipe - How to Make Polpette

Italian Meatball Recipe – How to Make Polpette

30 Comments on “Recipe – Polpette di Carne (Meatballs)

  1. Diana, even though I have been aware that the Italians don’t put meatballs with their pasta, I must admit I love to blend the tow. Recipe sounds good…prob. be on the menu this weekend.

    • Hi Susan….I agree…..I like the mix. But I have also gotten used to eating them on their own and really like them solo as well. Love the article on how the change happened in America.

  2. I bet the Italian sausage you get there is SO much better than the “Italian” sausage I get here. 😉

    • Hi Katie…you know I was thinking of that it might be different…because the truth is that I did not cook with a lot of Italian sausage when we lived in Texas, and I don’t even remember what it was like there. Anyway…..thanks for stopping by.

  3. Another great recipe. It looks great! I need to try this 🙂

  4. It sounds like my mother’s recipe! However she nevers uses sausage (which I love). Next time she makes them, I’ll ask her to add sausage 😉

    • Hi Simona! Yes….the sausage thing was kind of an accident because I had a bit of left over sausage to use one time and threw them in with my polpette, and they came out really tasty! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Well really it was an accidental discovery because I had a bit of sausage that was too small to do a real meal with, so I threw it in with the meatball mix and Umberto loved them……

  5. Mmm nice! Looks like we have been thinking of each other. I made polpette too last week. It is such a warming delicious meal. I like your version, looks easy and really tasty. Ciao!

    • yay….love, love, love meatballs…..took my kids till they were about 5-6 to eat them…they are super picky!

      • Yes, kids sure can be picky at times. Reassuring at least that tastes change and your children came around at last. So far, I’ve been lucky with anything meat-related with my little one. I hope it stays that way…

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