The polpete are the delicious meatballs of the Italian cuisine, softer than the classic meatballs because they contain breadcrumbs moistened with milk.
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Last modified on: April 8th 2023

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For 25 pieces, you will need:

Change these quantities to make: 25 pieces 50 pieces 75 pieces
How long does it take?
Time required for this recipe:
PreparationRestingCookingStart to finish
30 min.1 hour21 min.1 hour 51 min.
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Step by step recipe

Stage 1 - 5 min.

Making the meat balls

Remove the crust from 3 slices bread (use it in another recipe), put the crumb only in a bowl and sprinkle it with 1 glass milk.

Let it soak in.

Stage 2 - 5 min.
In the meantime, in a salad bowl, pour 300 g minced beef, ½ onion finely chopped and parsley also chopped.

Salt and pepper.

Stage 3 - 5 min.
Add the milk-soaked bread, squeezed between your hands, grated 50 g Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano) and 2 eggs.

Stage 4 - 3 min.
Mix thoroughly.

You can do it with a mixer, or simply by hand...

Stage 5
...until you get...

Stage 6 - 1 hour
...a homogeneous mixture.

Let rest 1 hour in the refrigerator if possible.

Stage 7 - 10 min.
Shape them into balls and place them on a baking sheet, possibly protected by a sheet of baking paper.

If you don't use them right away, you can freeze them at this stage: put the baking sheet in the freezer, and when the balls are frozen, transfer them to a closed plastic freezer bag.

Stage 8 - 5 min.


In a large frying pan over medium heat, pour in 4 tablespoons olive oil and when it is hot add the dumplings, just brown them on each "face".

Put on hold in a plate

Stage 9 - 1 min.
In the same pan, add a little olive oil, then chopped 1 shallot, 2 bayleaves, 1 sprig thyme, 1 garlic clove, salt and pepper.

Cook for 1 minute, without browning.

Stage 10 - 10 min.
Pour in 300 g peeled and chopped tomatoes, add more salt and pepper, and let thicken gently for about 10 minutes.

Stage 11 - 5 min.
Add the previously set aside meatballs, sprinkle with tomatoes and let them warm up slowly.

Stage 12 - 2 min.
Just before serving, remove and discard thyme, garlic clove and bay leaves.

Check seasoning.

Stage 13
Serve the polpete with the side dish of your choice, in this case white rice, and a generous helping of tomato puree.
In principle, popete is beef, but you can also put several meats together: beef + pork for example, or beef + veal.

Pecorino instead, or with it, Parmesan is also a very good option.
1 or 2 days in the refrigerator, protected by a stretch film.
Home made.
Nutritional information
Whole recipe
Energetic valueProteins CarbohydratesFats
1,842 Kcal or 7,712 Kj105 gr127 gr150 gr
92 %40 %12 %23 %
Per 100 g
Energetic valueProteins CarbohydratesFats
159 Kcal or 666 Kj9 gr11 gr13 gr
8 %3 %1 %2 %
Per piece
Energetic valueProteins CarbohydratesFats
74 Kcal or 310 Kj4 gr5 gr6 gr
4 %2 %<1 %1 %
% are calculated relative to a Recommended Dietary Intake or RDI of 2000 k-calories or 8400 k-joules by day for a woman (change to a man).
Possible allergens in this recipe: Gluten, Milk, Egg
How much will it cost?
  • For 25 pieces : 7.17 €
  • Per piece : 0.29 €

Change currency:

Note: Be careful, these prices are only an estimate, you can consult the table of prices by ingredients used for this estimate.
This recipe uses (among others)
Minced beefMinced beef: You can check-out other recipes which use it, like for example: Stuffed tomatoes and courgettes, Enchiladas, Algerian brik rolls, Bolognaise lasagne, Moussaka, ... All
Peeled and chopped tomatoesPeeled and chopped tomatoes: You can check-out other recipes which use it, like for example: Spinach and chick peas "à la milanaise", Pissaladière with puff pastry, Veal Marengo, Rice à l'italienne, Sausages with baked beans, French style, ... All
Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano)Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano): You can check-out other recipes which use it, like for example: Pea risotto "Mantecare", Eggs with green asparagus and Parmesan cheese, Roast Brussels sprouts with sage and lemon, Spaghetti with mussels and basil, Parmesan cauliflower cheese, ... All
Olive oilOlive oil: You can get more informations, or check-out other recipes which use it, for example: Thaï rice with small vegetables, Fisherman's Ragout, Eggs with green asparagus and Parmesan cheese, Scallops with cabbage julienne, Dipping bread with cheese, ... All
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