Nonitta’s Mondeghili

(serves 4 | 30 minutes | easy)

Mondeghili were first made in people’s homes, by using all the pieces of meat that didn’t make the cut for refined dishes, further demonstrating that most Milanese dishes which survived the test of time were adopted as a creative way of repurposing leftovers. The oval meatballs are rolled and fried – rigorously – in butter. Longobards were a northern population, which used to be surrounded by an abundance of cows without an olive tree in sight, so butter, not oil, was at the basis of Milanese cuisine. Below is the recipe I shared for my article on Milan’s gastronomic heritage for The New Gastronome. 

boiled veal (or any leftover, pre-cooked meat) – prosciutto cotto – mortadella – grated parmigiano – 2 eggs – nutmeg – parsley – breadcrumbs – butter – 2 boiled potatoes

  1. Roughly chop up the leftover meat with a few slices of mortadella and prosciutto cotto and place them all in a bowl. 
  2. Add a few handfuls of grated parmigiano and a sprinkle of nutmeg to taste, then drop in the eggs and mix until combined. 
  3. Mash two potatoes into the bowl and add a handful of chopped parsley. Mix everything with a fork until you achieve a soft, homogeneous mix. 
  4. Cover a plate with breadcrumbs, take a handful of filling and roll it lightly between your hands, then press tightly until the meatball is very compact. Coat it in breadcrumbs and place to one side. Repeat with the whole filling. 
  5. Melt a stick of butter on high heat and place the mondeghili inside to fit snugly, without touching. Fry for 4 minutes on each side or until golden and crispy. 
  6. Once the mondeghili are golden, remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on a plate lined with kitchen paper, to remove the excess butter. Serve hot or cooled down!