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Polpettone wrapped in pancetta

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for polpettone (meatballs) wrapped in pancetta.

By Rodney Dunn
  • 25 mins preparation
  • 45 mins cooking plus chilling
  • Serves 8
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Polpettone wrapped in pancetta
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


  • 1
    Heat 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.
  • 2
    Combine 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.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, 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).
  • 4
    Transfer 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.
  • 5
    Spoon tomato sauce over polpettone, scatter with parmesan and serve immediately.


Drink Suggestion: Pale, dry rosato. Drink suggestion by Max Allen

  • undefined: Rodney Dunn