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Polpette di Carne with Ragù Veloce

From "The Infinite Feast: How to Host the Ones You Love—Recipes from the Big Easy . . . and Beyond" by Brian Theis, 2020 Click here for more on my best-selling cookbook!


Mamma mia, what a meatball! I’m so pleased to present my classically-inspired recipe. The “polpette” cook right in their savory quick sauce! Tender and tasty, rich with the Italian “soffritto” of vegetables, my recipe is really a winner. Make it for you and your family on this lovely bella notte!


Polpette di Carne with Ragù Veloce

(Meatballs with Quick Ragù)

Makes 4 to 6 servings


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 large or 2 medium stalks celery, diced

1 medium carrot, diced

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled plum tomatoes, with liquid, coarsely chopped

(San Marzano preferred)

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons salt, divided

1 pound ground beef

3/4 pound ground pork

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/3 cup shredded Pecorino Romano

1 large egg

3 tablespoons minced fresh basil

3 tablespoons minced parsley


In Dutch oven or heavy pot heat oil over medium high heat. Add the Italian soffritto (onion, celery, carrot) and garlic, and cook till softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and sauce to pot. Add bay leaf and 1 teaspoon salt. Partially cover, bring mixture to boil, reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes.

While sauce simmers, in large bowl, combine beef, pork, breadcrumbs, cheese, egg, basil, parsley, remaining teaspoon salt, pepper. Add 1/2 cup of sauce to meat, mix all together with fork till well combined. Shape mixture into 16 balls, about 2 inches in diameter.

Gently place meatballs in sauce without stirring. Return sauce to gentle simmer, cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes. Test a meatball to make sure is cooked through. Remove bay leaf, serve!

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