Main Dish

Polpette e Polenta (Meatballs with Polenta)

Portalupi Wine

107 North Street
Healdsburg, CA 95448

  • RECIPE YEAR: 2013
  • RECIPE BY: Jane Portalupi
  • YIELD: Serves 8
  • PAIRS WELL WITH: Portalupi Russian River Valley Old Vine Zinfandel

The Portalupi family hails from a small village in the Piemonte region of Northern Italy. It is there that Marina Portalupi began honing her cooking skills, which she passed down to all of us. Our recipes are inspired by the great Italian food we grew up with, prepared by our matriarch, Marina.


  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups room-temperature water
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
To prepare the polenta, grease a large baking dish. In a bowl, combine the cornmeal, the 2 cups cold water and the salt. 

In a large saucepan, bring the 3 cups room-temperature water to a boil. Stir in the cornmeal mixture and return to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat so the mixture simmers and stir in the cheese. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the polenta is thick. Spread the polenta in the prepared baking dish and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound Italian ground pork
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups Italian bread crumbs
To prepare the meatballs, preheat the oven to 400°F. Oil a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, veal and pork. Add the garlic, eggs, cheese, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper. Blend the bread crumbs into the meat. Shape the mixture into 1-inch meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, rolling the meatballs over halfway through the cooking time to ensure they cook evenly. 

Sauce and Serving

  • 2 cans (each 14 1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, plus about 1/2 cup for frying polenta
  • 1/3 cup finely diced onions
  • 1/2 cup Portalupi Bianco white wine
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs for garnish
To prepare the sauce, in a food processor, combine the tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper and blend until smooth. In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the 6 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the pureed tomato sauce and wine and simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

About 10 minutes before you are ready to serve the dish, remove the polenta from the refrigerator and cut it into squares. In a large fry pan, warm the 1/2 cup olive oil. Add the polenta squares and fry on both sides, about 3 minutes each.

Place 2 or 3 polenta squares on each plate, top with a meatball and spoon over the sauce. Garnish with cheese and parsley sprigs.

Portalupi Wine

107 North Street
Healdsburg, CA 95448