Recipe: Prenuptial Meat Patties and Quick-Cook Tomato Sauce

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Every Thursday on the Good Food Blog we share a recipe from our archives.

Julia della Croce is the author of Umbria: Regional Recipes from the Heartland of Italy.  She first shared this recipe for Prenuptial Meat Patties and Quick-Cook Tomato Sauce on August 30, 2003.

Keep reading for the full recipe…

Prenuptial Meat Patties (Polpettini di carne prenuziali)
Serves 8

  • 1 cup cubed stale white bread, crusts removed, about 2 ounces with crust
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 lb of ground veal, pork or chicken breast (use one protein or any combination for a combined total of 1 lb)
  • 2 ounces prosciutto, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small onion, grated on the large oval holes of box grater
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil or corn oil for frying
  • Unbleached flour for dredging

Put the bread cubes in a small bowl and add the milk or broth. When the bread is softened thoroughly, squeeze it dry, discarding the liquid, and place the cubes in a bowl. Add the pork, veal, chicken, prosciutto, onion, marjoram, lemon zest, egg and salt, and season with pepper to taste. Using your hands, blend the mixture well. Scoop up 2 rounded teaspoons for each patty and form into an egg shape.

Pour oil to a depth of 1/2 inch in a large, wide skillet, and place over medium heat. Meanwhile, lightly dredge in flour only as many patties as you will fry in the first batch. When the oil is hot enough to make the patties sizzle upon contact, slip them into the pan, one at a time, being careful not to crowd the pan. Fry until nicely browned all over and cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Using tongs or slotted spoon, transfer onto a paper towel to drain, then place on a platter and keep warm. Taste a patty for salt and, if necessary, sprinkle salt sparingly over the patties. Serve hot or warm, with quick-cooked tomato sauce (see below).

Quick-Cooked Tomato Sauce
Serves 4

  • 2 1/2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped fresh or canned plum tomatoes
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black or white pepper

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the tomatoes, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Bring to a boil over high heat and continue to cook over a lively flame until thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir the salt, pepper, to taste, and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil into the sauce, then pour the sauce over the meatballs.