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Tasty Thursday: Polpetini

Homemade meatballs, or polpetini, are the greatest.  You can add them to your pasta or make a sandwich with them.  This recipe is inspired by the 2010 Epcot Food and Wine Festival and while it looks like meatballs are not on the 2012 Italy booth menu, I am sure one of the Italian restaurants in the World Showcase have some.

You can make the polpetini with veal, beef, pork or turkey.  I used a combination of pork and beef.  I liked the idea of baking them in a mini muffin pan. For those of us who seem to shape things in various sizes, the mini muffin tins made a good reference to keeping them small. 

I served these with spaghetti in tomato sauce, and the dish was delicious.  I actually doubled the recipe so I could freeze half for later.  I would definitely make these again to have them on standby.

Polpetini  or “Meatballs”
Adapted from Chef Big Fat Panda & Disney Food Blog
Yields: 48 meatballs

Ingredients:
2 cups-1 inch bread cubes  from day old, crustless bread
1 1/2 cups milk
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 eggs
2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp.  freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.   In a small bowl, soak the bread in the milk.  Set aside for 10 minutes.

2.  In a large bowl, combine the ground meats, cheese, eggs, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Squeeze the milk from the bread so that the bread is damp, but not soaking wet.  Add the bread to the meat mixture, and mix by hand. 

3.    Shape into 48-1 inch balls.  Place them on a rimmed baking sheet or a mini muffin pan.  Bake for 20 minutes. 

 Note:  If you want to freeze them, let them cool completely, then set the polpetini  on a rimmed baking sheet making sure that are not touching.  Place them in the freezer.  Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer safe bag or container and place them back into the freezer.  This way you can pull out only what you need without them sticking together.

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