This is a classic Roman dish combining flavour and the fervid imagination of the locals who have always endeavoured to make gastronomic masterpieces from the simplest of ingredients.
Ingredients (serves 6)
1 kg (21⁄4 pounds) of boiled meat 3 eggs, yolks and whites
150g (51⁄4 oz) grated Parmesan
3 eggs, yolk and white
500 g (1 pound) breadcrumbs Extra virgin olive oil
Oil for frying
Garlic, salt and pepper to taste
Armando’s polpette are a recycled dish using boiled meat, in other words, they use the meat boiled to make a broth but not sliced afterwards for picchiapo’ and minced instead.
As well as the minced meat, you’ll also need eggs, grated Parmesan, some stale bread and a scattering of chopped parsley. Before using the parsley, soften it in some broth first then drain thoroughly.
Combine the ingredients with your bare hands until the mixture feels relatively soft and springy. Shape into balls the size of an apricot and squeeze a little; in other words, create little meatballs.
Roll twice in breadcrumbs and fry until golden brown.
My advice is to shut yourself in the kitchen for this last step, as the cooked meatballs will be so tempting they might end up disappearing in front of your eyes, snatched by a hungry passer by no sooner than they’re out of the pan.
Once they’re done and lying on some kitchen paper, you’ll be faced with a tough decision: do you leave them like that, fried, or transfer them to a tasty, fresh tomato sauce? Your call.
In the rest case, garnish with some crisps, a salad or sautéed chicory. In the latter, make a tomato and basil sauce, add the fried meatballs and leave for a few minutes to soak up the sauce, garnish with fresh peas and serve nice and hot. Make sure you’ve always got a reserve supply as they’ll be in great demand.