Polpette di Mamma

Total Time

Prep: 45 min. Cook: 45 min.


8 servings

Updated: Jun. 30, 2023
When you think of Italian food, spaghetti with meatballs is probably one of the first dishes that comes to mind. Every Italian mother and grandmother has their signature polpette (meatball) recipe, and their children will always boast that their meatballs are the best. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
Polpette di Mamma Recipe photo by Liz Clayman
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  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 to 5 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 8 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground veal or pork
  • 1/2 pound ground beef (85% lean)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk


  1. In a small saucepan, combine olive oil, basil leaves and garlic over very low heat until mixture is very fragrant and garlic turns golden brown, 10-15 minutes. Strain mixture, discarding basil and garlic; set oil aside.
  2. In a Dutch oven, combine crushed tomatoes, water, tomato paste, salt, chopped basil, pepper and reserved olive oil. Bring to a boil; remove ½ cup and set aside. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, while preparing polpette.
  3. Meanwhile, to make polpette, in a large bowl, combine all polpette ingredients and reserved 1/2 cup tomato mixture. Gently mix until combined (mixture will be loose). With wet hands, roll 1/4 cupfuls of mixture into balls. Place on a baking sheet or plate. Add raw meatballs to simmering sauce, gently shaking pan to allow for more space. Bring to a simmer; cook, covered, at least 45 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 453 calories, 27g fat (7g saturated fat), 110mg cholesterol, 2352mg sodium, 31g carbohydrate (13g sugars, 5g fiber), 26g protein.

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