This is no ordinary meatball. From the mix of fresh herbs to the flavour infused by the pancetta and the gently simmering tomato, this dish cries out for a glass of red and a chunk of crusty bread to mop up all the extra sauce.
- 100 ml olive oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tsp each finely chopped marjoram and oregano leaves
- 1 tsp finely chopped sage leaves
- 500 gm each minced veal and pork
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 35 gm (½ cup) fresh fine breadcrumbs from a crusty white loaf
- 40 gm (½ cup) finely grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
- 16 (300gm) wide, thin, flat pancetta slices
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 750 ml (3 cups) passata
- 250 ml red wine
- 100 gm unsalted butter, coarsely chopped
- 1Heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan over low-medium heat, add half the onion and half the garlic and sauté until soft and translucent (8-10 minutes), stir through herbs, remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
- 2Combine minced meats, eggs, breadcrumbs, parmesan, onion mixture and 2 tsp each sea salt and freshly ground black pepper in a bowl. Divide into eight pieces, roll into balls, wrap each with overlapping pancetta slices, refrigerate for 10 minutes.
- 3Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a large flameproof casserole, add polpettone and turn occasionally until brown (5 minutes), then remove from casserole and set aside. Add remaining onion and garlic to casserole and sauté over low-medium heat until soft (7-8 minutes), stir in bay leaves, passata and red wine. Add polpettone, cover and simmer until firm when pressed (10 minutes), remove lid and simmer until sauce is reduced by half (8-10 minutes).
- 4Transfer polpettone to a plate with a slotted spoon, cover loosely with foil and keep warm. Increase heat to high and cook sauce until thick (5-10 minutes), then stir in butter until combined.
- 5Spoon tomato sauce over polpettone, scatter with parmesan and serve immediately.
Drink Suggestion: Pale, dry rosato. Drink suggestion by Max Allen