Polpette con Limone


Meatballs with lemon are lighter than my traditional meatballs with red sauce.

By making them smaller (about the size of a walnut) they are just the right size to enjoy as Merende (Small Bites), add to a Mediterranean Salad or serve with Lemon Spaghetti.

I prepare a double recipe to have on hand because they are so versatile.

I have made them with beef, veal or pork as well as a combination of all three meats. Use the meat you like and have in the refrigerator. My favorite is veal or a veal and pork mixture.



  • 1 pound ground beef, veal or pork
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 1/3 cups Pecorino cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup flour (to coat meatball)
  • Olive oil (for frying)
  • 1/2 cup Marsala
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Lemon zest


Using a large bowl and with clean hands, combine the ground meat, breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, lemon zest, egg (it looks like 2 but it’s only one) and salt and pepper. (I love making meatballs).




Form a small amount of the mixture into oval-shaped meatballs (you could do round, but my grandmother made oval so …)
Roll each meatball in flour until lightly coated.




In a large skillet, warm the olive oil, add meatballs and cook on medium heat until browned on both sides (about 10 minutes).
Add Marsala, cook for a couple of minutes to burn off the alcohol. Add beef broth, bay leaves and lemon juice, cook a few more minutes until the sauce has reduced and becomes sauce.
Place the polpette in a small dish, spoon a bit of sauce over each and top with lemon zest.

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