Polpette di Pane

(serves 2 | 20 minutes | easy)

A wonderful recipe, focused on the resourceful nonne and nonni of Basilicata who transformed breadcrumbs into stand alone meatballs, although the best term to use would actually be polpette, as there is no meat whatsoever in them. They took a leftover ingredient, bread, and transformed it into this dish’s main character – isn’t that so inspiring?

3 eggs – 200g breadcrumbs from stale bread (you might need slightly more or less) – one handful grated parmigiano – extra virgin olive oil – 1 can of passata – 1 small onion – salt and pepper – 1 tbsp finely minced parsley

  1. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl with a fork then begin slowly adding the breadcrumbs, keep mixing vigorously with a fork to combine well. Keep adding breadcrumbs until the mix thickens and you can shape a ball with your hands. 
  2. Once you’ve achieved your desired thickness, add the pecorino and parsley and combine well. Taste to see if they require salt (I usually skip this step as Pecorino is always salty). 
  3. Cover the base of a medium-sized non-stick pan in olive oil and heat on a high flame. Once the olive oil has heated, begin dropping in the polpette you’ve shaped with wet hands. 
  4. Fry each polpetta until golden on all sides, then place them on a plate topped with kitchen paper to remove the excess oil. 
  5. In the meantime dice the onion finely and let it soften in a pan with some olive oil before adding the can of passata. Season with salt and pepper and let it cook until slightly thicker.
  6. Once you’ve patted the polpette dry, drop them into the passata pan and cook them for 5 minutes, just enough time to let them absorb some tomato sauce.
  7. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a few basil leaves.