Polpettone is essentially an Italian meat loaf that is shaped in a roll. The mixture can also be used to make meatballs simmered in tomato sauce. I serve this with the zucchini, although a proper Italian would serve it afterward.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 pound (250 grams) each ground beef, veal and pork
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped black olives
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups beef stock


Preheat oven to 350 F.

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 2 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute more. Remove from heat.

Soak breadcrumbs with milk to moisten. Combine beef, pork and veal in a large bowl. Stir in onions and garlic, breadcrumbs, pecorino, eggs, chili flakes, tomato paste, rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley, black olives and salt and pepper. Fry a small piece to taste for seasoning.

Place mixture onto a roasting pan or metal baking dish. Form mixture into a sausage-like shape, about 2 inches thick, and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until polpettone is cooked through.

Add butter to roasting pan and stir in flour. Cook for 2 minutes or until browned. Pour in beef stock and bring to boil. Simmer 5 minutes or until thickened. Drizzle sauce over polpettone and serve. Serves 4 to 6.