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Easy Italian meatballs in tomato sauce – Polpette al sugo

Easy Italian meatballs in tomato sauce  – Polpette al sugo

Meatballs with tomato sauce is really a quintessential Italian recipe and most than any other dish, it reminds me of my childhood. I mean, which kid could ever resist to these juicy bites? In my family there are two schools of thought about meatballs, no, there are three. My dad who in perfect American style eats them with spaghetti, my sister who just wants them fried in olive oil, and then me and my mother, who love to dip them in tomato sauce.

The nice side of meatballs is that it doesn’t exist a specific recipe to follow, which is good, because Italians are very strict when it comes to what they believe right or not in the kitchen – I know, we are annoying sometimes!  In this case, feel free to experiment with what you have in the fridge. Like often, I follow my mother’s recipe because it has the taste of genuine Sunday family lunches, and above all  now that I am so far away from home recreating those dishes makes me feel like I am still there with them!

meatballs in tomato sauce

These meatballs are so tender and moist inside and with a crunchy crust outside, they are so juicy and tasty thanks to some tricks. The first and most important is surely the use of breadcrumbs soaked in milk or water, that helps binding the meat together.  Then, after all ingredients are assembled and little meatballs are ready,  my mom cooks them over medium – low heat with some olive oil, until they form a little golden crust and just after that moment she pours the crushed tomatoes in the pan, and let simmer for half an hour. To boost the aroma, she also drops a few basil leaves in the sauce.

Variations on the meatballs

In this recipe I use just beef, but actually it is totally possible to mix different kinds of meat, like veal, beef and pork.

I love to use garlic, but you can mix garlic and onion or you can put just onion if garlic is too strong for you.  One big onion should be enough in substitution of the garlic.

meatballs in tomato sauce

Concerning the seasoning, my mom sent me a box full of dried mint which is awesome, and I just used that because it is pretty strong and flavourful, but in alternative parsley or oregano will do a great job.

If you are a cheese lover, I recommend to use some Provolone together with Parmesan to get the maximum flavor boost. A little nutmeg is also more than welcome!

Indications about the pan:

I use a 9-inch frying pan  and I can cook around 20 meatballs at a time in it.  With this recipe I obtain around 30, so what I usually do is cooking 20 of them in tomato sauce and I fry the rest simply in olive oil. If you have a giant pan you can cook them all together by adding extra 100 ml crushed tomatoes. If you don’t,  you can cook them in two batches, using half of the crushed tomatoes for the first batch and the rest for the second.

Easy Italian meatballs in tomato sauce – Polpette al sugo

Ingredients

17,5 oz (500 gr. )ground beef
2 eggs
1/2 cup (50 gr.) grated Parmesan
2 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
3 slices of stale bread (just the crumbs)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 pepper
mint
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
14 oz (400 gr.) crushed tomatoes

Method

Soak the bread in some milk or water in a large bowl for 4/5 minutes and then remove it from the water.

In a bowl mix the beef, the bread, the Parmesan, garlic, eggs all together. Add salt, pepper and mint and combine everything together with your hands to obtain a uniform mixture.  Always using your hands, roll out the meatballs into a round shape. I try to make them pretty small, roughly the size of big walnuts.

meatballs in tomato sauce

In a large pan over medium-low heat, heat the olive oil and add the meatballs one by one. Cook them for some minutes until a nice golden crust is formed and then pour the crushed tomatoes all over, a pinch of salt and let simmer for around half an hour. Optionally, you can add some basil leaves to the sauce.

 

meatballs

meatballs in tomato sauce

Turn the heat off and serve the meatballs immediately, with some slices of bread (necessary to make the scarpetta with the sauce!!)

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Easy Italian meatballs in tomato sauce - Polpette al sugo

2017-05-25
: 4/5
: 10 min
: 35 min
: 45 min
: Easy

The easiest Italian beef meatballs in tomato sauce, juicy and soft inside with a crunchy crispy crust!

By:

Ingredients
  • 17,5 oz (500 gr.) ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (50 gr.) grated Parmesan
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
  • 3 slices of stale bread (just the crumbs)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • mint
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 14 oz (400 gr.) crushed tomatoes
Directions
  • Step 1 Soak the bread in some milk or water in a large bowl for 4/5 minutes and then remove it from the water.
  • Step 2 In a bowl mix the beef, the bread, the Parmesan, garlic, eggs all together.
  • Step 3 Add salt, pepper and mint and combine everything together with your hands to obtain a uniform mixture.
  • Step 4 Always using your hands, roll out the meatballs into a round shape, roughly of the size of big walnuts.
  • Step 5 In a large pan over medium-low heat, heat the olive oil and add the meatballs one by one.
  • Step 6 Cook them for some minutes until a nice golden crust is formed and then pour the crushed tomatoes all over, a pinch of salt and let simmer for around half an hour.
  • Step 7 Optionally, you can add some basil leaves to the sauce.
  • Step 8 Turn the heat off and serve the meatballs immediately, with some slices of bread.


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