Stuffed Meatballs: Polpettone Ripieni

TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 35 min
Prep: 20 min
Inactive Prep: 30 min
Cook: 45 min
 
YIELD: 4 to 8 servings
LEVEL: Intermediate

ingredients

  • 1/2 pound finely ground lean veal
  • 1/2 pound finely ground lean beef
  • 1 cup freshly grated bread crumbs, plus 3 tablespoons
  • 1 cup freshly grated pecorino
  • 3 eggs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 20 to 30 leaves field spinach, stems removed
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into 6 slices lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 6 slices prosciutto
  • 6 slices caciocavallo
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
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      Directions

      In a large bowl, combine the veal, 1 cup bread crumbs, grated cheese, eggs, and salt and pepper, to taste, and mix thoroughly with hands.

      Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. Dip the spinach leaves in the water to just wilt and immediately remove. Add the carrot slices to the boiling water and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, then remove and set aside.

      Combine the flour with the remaining 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs and heavily dust a wooden work board with the mixture. Pat the veal mixture into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle and lay the spinach leaves over the meat, leaving a 1-inch border on the short sides. Lay the carrot slices over the spinach in the same fashion, then layer the prosciutto and the cheese. Carefully roll the meat into a jellyroll, making it as firm as possible. The sausage should be about 16 inches. Cut the sausage in half crosswise, sealing the ends thoroughly with the meat to keep the cheese from oozing out during cooking. Dust outsides with flour.

      In a frying pan large enough to hold both rolls, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the rosemary and polpettone and brown meat on all sides, turning it carefully with a wooden spoon or 2 spatulas. When the meat is brown, remove and discard as much oil as possible. Pour half the wine and the chicken stock over the browned rolls, turn heat to medium-low, cover pan and cook 15 minutes. (If liquid evaporates, add a little water to the pan). Remove cover, turn meat rolls over and pour remaining wine and chicken stock over them, cover again, and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

      Transfer the meat rolls to a cutting board. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add 1/2 cup water to pan juices. Cook down, scraping up any brown bits, until you have 2 to 3 tablespoons meat glaze. Strain to remove rosemary leaves. Let rolls cool to room temperature, then slice as thinly as possible, and serve with meat glaze drizzled over.

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