It’s a delight that needs little introduction except to say that if you see polpettone on a menu, don’t expect to get piling plate of polpette, meatballs or sauce for that matter. Polpettone is the big, and I do mean big version of the meatball and you’ll rarely find a Neapolitan eating it with sauce or a Ragù.
It is, for all intents and purposes, meatloaf – Neapolitan style. Made with ground meat, typically beef but you can also use pork, veal or a combination (we actually used pork, which I prefer, but don’t tell anybody). You might also find other ingredients inside like prosciutto cotto or provolone and a restaurant down the street from me makes theirs with a hard boiled egg inside.
Giuseppe’s version however is the most classic of versions, the one folks would have made when there was precious little money to spare on extra ingredients. Quick and easy to make, serve it with some oven roasted potatoes and you’ll have the perfect winter’s meal.
500 grams ground beef
150 grams grated parmigiano
3 slices white bread
1/2 (4 oz) cup milk
Salt and Pepper
Pour the milk into a small bowl and break up the white bread into the milk
In a large bowl, add the meat, eggs, parmigiano, and salt and pepper to taste
Squeeze the excess milk from the bread and add it to the meat mixture
Mix well and shape into a ball
Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the meat and around the bowl and roll the meat around in the bowl until all sides are lightly coated with the breadcrumbs
Grease the bottom of a baking pan with butter
Shape the meat into an oblong form and transfer it to the baking pan
Add more bread crumbs as needed so the top and sides are lightly coated
Drizzle oil around the bottom of the pan
Bake uncovered at 350° F for 45 minutes
Remove from the oven and let it sit a few minutes before slicing