Giovanna’s meatballs

Giovanna’s meatballs

Polpette di giovanna

Sharing Puglia
Alicia Taylor

Giovanna, the chef of my restaurant, Cafe Latte, in Melbourne, once cooked and served this staple Italian dish. She received so many compliments from the diners that we have kept this dish on the menu for many, many years.


Quantity Ingredient
500g minced chicken, beef, lamb or pork
50g pecorino, grated
50g parmesan, grated
100g dry breadcrumbs
handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
3 eggs, beaten
handful basil leaves
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Simple tomato sauce

Quantity Ingredient
1 onion, chopped
125ml olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 litre tomato passata


  1. To make the meatballs, place the minced meat, the grated cheeses, breadcrumbs, parsley, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, nutmeg and eggs in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Leave the bowl to rest in the refrigerator for an hour or so. (This can be done ahead of time.)
  2. Once cold, take the meatball mixture out of the refrigerator and prepare small meatballs, about 1 cm, rolling them gently between your hands. Place the formed meatballs on a baking tray.
  3. To make the sauce, sauté the onion in the olive oil in a saucepan over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for a further minute to release the flavour. Add the tomato passata and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
  4. When the sauce is ready, slip the prepared meatballs into the sauce and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
  5. Tear the basil leaves roughly and add them to the pot a few minutes before the end of cooking time.
  6. Serve the meatballs with spaghetti, or on their own accompanied by vegetables, sprinkled with black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
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