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Neapolitan Meatballs


Neapolitan Meatballs – (Polpette Alla Napolitana)

This is an old-fashioned recipe. You can leave out the pinoles and currants but if you use them it makes these polpettes special.
Polpette Alla Napolitana
  • 1/3 cup dried currants (soaked)
  • A small loaf of day-old Italian bread with the crust removed
  • Some milk to wet the bread
  • About 1 lb. of ground beef chuck
  • A handful of chopped parsley
  • 1 finely chopped garlic clove
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiana cheese
  • 1/3  cup pinoles (pine nuts)
  • Olive oil for frying
Soak the currants in a little warm water. Soak the bread in the milk. Squeeze out the excess milk, break it apart and put it in a bowl with the beef, parsley and garlic.

Polpette Alla Napolitana

Mix it well and add salt and pepper, the egg, cheese, the pinoles and drained currents.  Mix this thoroughly with your hands.

Polpette Alla Napolitana

Shape the mix into small balls (I use an ice cream scoop to get them the same size) and let them rest for 15 – 20 minutes and then fry in a good amount of olive oil over medium heat in a heavy pan.

Polpette Alla Napolitana

Keep rolling them to brown on all sides. Drain and serve with tomato sauce. They’re very good plain too.

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Polpette – Meat Balls Napolitana Style

Polpette – Meat Balls Napolitana Style

My mother always got her meat balls to a uniform size just using her hands. I cheat, using an ice cream scoop.





If you’re using dried currants instead of raisins, soak them in some warm water for about 15 minutes. Trim the crust from the bread and break it into pieces. Put it in a bowl and add enough milk to soak it.2-meat-balls

After the bread absorbs the milk and softens, squeeze it to remove the excess milk. Drain the currants if you’re using them. Put the bread, beef, garlic, egg, parsley, cheese and raisins or currants, pinoles and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix it thoroughly with your hands. 3-meat-balls

Shape the meat balls and fry them in oil a heavy pan. Turn them gently to brown all sides. Remove them from the pan and drain them on paper towels.


You can eat them just like this. We always did when my mother was frying them until she threw us out of the kitchen. More traditionally, serve them with tomato sauce. A simple marinara sauce would be good. I would deglaze the meat ball pan with a little red wine and add it to the sauce. You can either just spoon some of the sauce over the meat balls or simmer them in the sauce for 5 or 10 minutes.20160919_191449

A Classic Meat Ball Sandwich

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