Meatballs with sauce, a classic of Roman cuisine

polpette al sugo gusto

Typical comfort food that immediately brings back childhood memories and the serenity of Sunday lunches with the family. The grandmother at the stove, the scent wafting through the kitchen and the mother slowly learning the secrets of the recipe. The meatballs with sauce come passed down from house to house and prepared in many regions of our country, perhaps precisely for the sentimental side they bring with them. A seemingly simple dish but at the same time not easy to make special. Rome has a tradition of meatballs with sauce and here – if mother or grandmother are not available – they can be enjoyed as street food or sitting comfortably in various restaurants. But what makes meatballs typical Roman cuisine?

Many of the best recipes are born from "waste", from the recovery of ingredients in the context of poor cuisine. Roman meatballs, also called boiled meatballs or boiled meatballs, are no exception and they are typically prepared with boiled meat, that is, with the meat boiled for the broth and left over from the day before (perhaps from Sunday lunch). They were in fact a humble food originally cooked on Tuesdays as a single dish but now, considering their goodness, the boiled meat is often prepared specifically to make meatballs with sauce. A poorer and more rustic but equally tasty variant of the classic meatballs and with the addition of the possibility of making the slipper, a moment of enjoyment for the palate held in great consideration by those with a sweet tooth.

Small precautions are enough to have excellent Roman-style meatballs. The boiled meat must be chopped and finely chopped and then placed in a bowl together with the crumbs of stale bread previously soaked, chopped garlic and parsley, nutmeg, grated parmesan, eggs, salt, pepper; everything mixed well so as to mix all the ingredients perfectly. Quality is obviously also very important goodness of the sauce, to be made with tomato puree or sauce added to a sauté of onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf and - if you want to exaggerate - even ham fat. Before being immersed in the sauce, the meatballs are typically fried giving maximum flavor but they can also be stewed, grilled, baked or steamed.

The most adopted solution - often for reasons of practicality and speed - in the majority of Roman homes and beyond has become over the years the one with the minced meat (usually beef and veal) instead of boiled meat, which instead represents the element historically used in recovery cuisine. In both versions, meatballs with sauce still represent an economical dish that has been easily cooked since ancient times without giving up the gourmet aspect.

If reading about meatballs has made you hungry, you can try the version of meatballs with sauce proposed by 'Gusto! You can find it on our menu Tavern along with other variations that we absolutely recommend trying…