Bite-size Meatloafs: Polpettine

In the 25 years I have been living in Italy, I have NEVER seen spaghetti and meatballs served anywhere.

In Tuscany we have polpettine, small meatloaves, Polpettone being a meatloaf: the ini ending means small and one- big!

Summer’s heat requires light foods and things which taste good at room temperature as well as cold. I love the polpettine as their small size allows for quick cooking and not a lot of time over a hot stove.

Here is the simple recipe using ground beef. There are as many versions as there are cooks, often I make one using left-over boiled beef from bollito misto. You can also “stretch” the recipe by mixing mashed potatoes in with the ground meat.

Polpettine- Beef Croquettes

12 oz ground beef
2 oz grated parmesan
1 egg or more as needed to hold mixture together
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 Tbs chopped parsley
olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper

In a large bowl, mix beef with egg, cheese, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper.
Let sit one hour.
Shape croquettes into a small finger shape.
Roll lightly in breadcrumbs.

Cover the bottom of a pan with olive oil and cook slowly over low heat until golden, turning frequently.

Season with salt and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Eat now or if you can wait…. eat at room temp.


  1. says

    Funny that you should say about Meatballs and Spaghetti, it is something I make quite a bit, my family love it. Tomorrow I have to cook for group of friends that meet, and we are having just that!! :-)

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