Bacon-Wrapped Polpette in Tomato Sauce

, from Issue #41. August, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Bacon-Wrapped Polpette in Tomato Sauce

Polpette is Italian for meatballs. In this recipe, large polpette are wrapped in bacon and cooked in a rich tomato sauce.


Serves: 4


3 tablespoons olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon each finely chopped oregano, parsley and sage
500 grams pork mince
1 egg
¼ cup dried breadcrumbs
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
8-12 slices streaky bacon (we use Freedom Farms)
3 bay leaves
1½ cups tomato passata
½ cup red wine
extra oregano leaves to serve


Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a sauté pan over a low heat. Add half the onion and half the garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes until soft and translucent. Stir in the herbs, transfer to a large bowl and set aside to cool.

Add the mince, egg, breadcrumbs and Parmesan and season generously. Using your hands, combine the mixture well then divide into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion into a large oval ball and wrap in 2-3 slices of bacon, overlapping them slightly.

Heat the remaining oil in a large casserole dish. Add the polpette and cook until browned all over, then remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the bay leaves and remaining onion and garlic to the pan and sauté over a low heat for 3-4 minutes then add the passata and wine. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer before returning the polpette to the pan. Cover and simmer gently for 15-18 minutes or until the polpette are cooked through.

Serve the polpette and sauce with a scattering of oregano leaves and grated Parmesan. Serve with hot cooked rice, pasta or sauteed potatoes. 

Pantry note: Tomato passata is available in jars at supermarkets and food stores.