Panini Girl

My obsessions-Italy and Cooking

January 23, 2017


Italian Street Food


Earlier last year I had the opportunity to do some recipe testing for Paola from one of my favorite blogs-Italy On My Mind. I had success with both of the recipes I tested and looked forward to the publication of her book. I was enamored with the lemon ricotta gelato and the ease of putting together this eggless ice cream. The other recipe that I tried is known as cassone verde-a flat bread filled with greens and and fried in a skillet. The recipes were well written, easy to follow and accompanied by gorgeous photos.

I was immediately taken with the premise of the book-recipes from Italy’s bars and hidden laneways. If you’ve been to Italy, you know what I’m talking about when I say that you are assaulted (in a wonderful way)  with an amazing array of food “to go” at every turn. I only wish that I had been along with Paola as she traveled around the country eating and collecting recipes for her book.

I am a bit fan of meatballs having grown up with an Italian grandmother who made a pot of “gravy” with sausage, meatballs and braciole every Sunday. Over the years it’s been hard to find a meatball that can measure up to hers, but I’m always hopeful. When I saw this appetizer of fried meatballs, I knew that I had to give them a shot. The other reason I was drawn to them is that the recipe comes from a restaurant in Venice that had been recommended to me, but I never it made to-La Vedova near the Ca’ D’Oro vaporetto stop. Anyway, these are the perfect snack to serve with cocktails. They are crunchy with a hint of garlic and parmesan-you’ll love them! Oh-and be sure to get the cookbook too.

Polpettine di Bar

1 medium potato

1 oz. crustless bread

1/2 cup milk

9 oz. ground beef

2 tbsp. chopped Italian parsley

1 egg

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1-1/4 oz.  grated parmesan

Peanut or sunflower oil for shallow frying

Plain all-purpose flour

1 egg lightly beaten with a splash of milk

Homemade, fresh breadcrumbs if possible (or use plain unseasoned crumbs)


Place the whole potato in a saucepan of cold water, cover and bring to a boil. Cook until tender. Drain, peel and mash or put through a ricer. Set aside to cool.

Soak the bread in the milk for 5 minutes, then drain and squeeze the bread to remove the excess liquid. Transfer to a large bowl.

Add the potato and the remaining ingredients, except the oil, to the large  bowl. Combine the ingredients with a large wooden spoon or your hands until the mixture comes together.

Roll the mixture into  small balls, about 20.

To crumb the meatballs, fill three separate bowls with the flour, the egg mixture and the breadcrumbs. Dredge the meatballs one at a time in the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs. Set aside on a plate.

Heat about 1/2″ oil in a large , heavy saucepan over medium heat. Fry the meatballs in batches for about 3 minutes, turning until they are evenly cooked and deep brown.

Drain on paper towels and serve warm, scattered with extra sea salt flakes.





13 thoughts on “Italian Street Food

  1. Do they taste like grandmas? I have tried to get that distinct flavor and have not yet been successful. I will try this recipe too.

    • Mia Cugina-no they don’t taste like grandma’s but they are a good little hors d’ouevres. I think the long cooking in sauce gave hers such a wonderful flavor. Mine are good, but not as good as hers. Same thing goes for my stuffing…and I would kill for a plate of jingles!

  2. I have been craving Italian meatballs for a few months and have not found a recipe that excites me, so I am excited to try this one. Thank Lyn

  3. What a honor it was to be part of the recipe testing team for Paola. Street Food is a treasure trove of Italian delicacies straight from the people. I had not had the chance to try Polpettine, but you have brought it to the top of my list. A lovely post….

  4. These were just delicious and we are so glad you made them…and excellent with a little red wine too!!!! Love your post… I often think that if my grandmother came back and tasted the sauce I claim to make from her recipes (passed down) that she would say “what’s this? It’s nice but nothing like mine.” I think through the generations nearly all family recipes get altered for a plethora of reasons (mostly inadvertently) … so I’ve succumbed to saying “it’s the thought that counts” and this is one of the best ways to preserve and honor family memories…in particular from the women in the family who made do with whatever ingredients were available and turned them into wholesome, sought after, loving meals.

    • Eat Be Tea-what a great comment! I’m sure it’s the same in your family where most of the family recipes weren’t written down. At one point my cousin worked alongside my grandmother trying to writie down what she was doing-I remember her saying something like-“cover the dough with two sweaters and a towel!”

  5. They seem delicious and look like fun to make. One small comment… shouldn’t you be using olive oil?

  6. These look delicious. I tested for Paola too-Fiadoni Abruzzesi which were delicious. I haven’t had time to try any of the other recipes yet, partly because I don’t know where to start! I have spent hours reading and leafing through the book as visually it is stunning. Buon appetito, Cristina

  7. Un Po’ Di Pepe-I just got the book out and looked up the Fiadoni Abruzzesi and they look so good. Which kind of cheese did you use? I agree with you about how gorgeous the book is. I love all the photos and the quality of the paper and the size of the book too.

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