Polpettine with zucchini and saffron

The original recipe for this meatball, zucchini and saffron stew calls for frying the zucchini in vegetable oil. We did not think this added anything to the recipe and I decided to cook them in a non-stick skillet, saving us a bit of extra efforts on the treadmill.

If you plan to make this recipe, I strongly recommend you double it up. I was certainly disappointed we did not have enough leftovers. Adapted from Trattoria cooking, from Biba Caggiano.

Polpettine zucchini saffron

For the meatballs:

450 g lean ground veal
2 large eggs
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup flour, for dredging
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

1. Beat the eggs with the parmesan in a bowl.
2. Add the meat, parsley, salt and pepper and mix well with your hands. If the mixture is too wet, add more cheese.
3. With your hands, form small meatballs, about the size of one tablespoon. Roll them in the flour and shake off the excess.
4. Rub 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil on a baking sheet and transfer the formed meatballs on it, rolling them in the oil to coat.
5. Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes. While these are cooking, make the sauce.

For the sauce:

450 g zucchini, cut into thin rounds
olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
2 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
1 pinch saffron threads
salt and pepper to taste

1. Add a little olive oil to a non-stick skillet over medium heat and cook the zucchini slices for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
2. Cook the onion in a bit of oil until soft, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the broth and the saffron and cook over medium heat until the sauce has reduced by half.
4. Just before serving, add the meatballs and the zucchini slices to the sauce, let it cook for one or two minutes, adjust seasonings and serve hot, with soft polenta or mashed potatoes.


6 replies »

  1. Veal is something I never see for sale here. Must Google to find out if it’s banned. I used to love calves liver that I used to have occasionally in a pub in Mayfair. So good!
    Would love to try this recipe!


  2. Happy to have found you, Dan! This seems like a beautiful combination of both my Italian and Persian roots. A blend of saffron and zucchini looks like a big hug from mom and dad :) Thanks for the idea and recipe !


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