Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Polpette in Umido

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Meatballs are one of my favorites. The only sandwich I eat at Subways is the Italian meatball sub. When I make spaghetti, it has to be with meatballs and large chunks of Italian sausages. I also survived as a graduate student at Michigan State eating 5$ ten pound bags of frozen meatballs cooked a million different ways to avoid hitting the meatball wall. It kind of reminds me when I survived on cans of pork/beef/bacon and beans as a college student by rotating the three different variants. Same goes for the canned Century brand tuna with their asado, adobo, hot and spicy and laing flavors.

Growing up back home in Bacolod, I experimented with numerous recipes of meatballs inspired by the Del Monte kitchen in their Kitchenomics segments on national television. The idea behind this gimmick was to use any Del Monte products in creating dishes that are both nutritionally and economically balanced. One recipe that I tried out was making meatballs with grated cassava an an extender. You basically replace the meat with the starchy and fibrous root crop that is very similar to tofu in that it absorbs any flavors you add on to it. It was quite good I have to say but my cooking adventure ended when I went to college where a functional kitchen was not available for my use. By the time I started working right after graduation, skimping on ingredients was not a big issue anymore but by then, my interest has moved on towards making lasagna.

My current meatball made from scratch recipe is of the Italian flair. I adapted this recipe from an episode of Michael Chiarello's Easy Entertaining show on the episode Retro Italian Feast. Suffice it to say that it has Parmesan and dried italian herbs (thyme, parsley, oregano and basil) added into the mix and is cooked two ways: first by frying and then followed by poaching.

*Meatballs - Adapted

1 lb ground beef
1 large egg
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup fine dried bread crumbs, Italian flavored
1 clove garlic, minced
Grey salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups water

1. In a large bowl, mix together the meat, egg, cheese, parsley,
    oregano, thyme, basil, onion, bread crumbs, and garlic, and season
    with salt and pepper.

2. Add 1 cup of the water. Knead the water into the meat mixture with
    your hands.

3. Knead and roll meatballs into about 1 1/2-inch balls. Fry in a pan in
    olive oil over low heat until just browned.

4. Place them in shallow saucepan on a stove and add 1 cup of water
    over them, and cover. Turn heat to medium, and steam for 35

I served the meatballs as a soup based on Lidia's recipe for Polpette in Umido but I used the recipe above for the meatballs. I just added some chicken broth and topped the soup with shredded cheese and chopped parsley and served with crusty bread. It was a simple yet hearty soup.


  1. ... i love meatballs, too... so versatile and easy to eat... i used to buy meatballs from CASAA for lunch because they wouldn't break the plastic spoon and fork when we eat... :-D

  2. Tin, jinx. No wonder BFFs tayo. Favorite ko din yung meatballs sa CASAA. Yung super giant size sa Gloria's.

  3. Yung super giant size sa Gloria's. - exactly!... :-D