Gluten-Free Polpette (Italian Meatballs)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-5 servings
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ large yellow onion, sliced
  • 6 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 28 oz cans whole peeled tomatoes (preferable San Marzano)
  • ½ cup basil leaves
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1½ lb meatloaf mix
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 5 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Schar gluten-free ciabatta roll, torn into 1" pieces (or about 1 cup of your favorite bread)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped basil
  • ¼ cup finely grated parmesan plus more for serving
  • Toasted ciabatta for serving
  1. SAUCE: Heat a large, straight-sided sauté pan over medium and add olive oil. Sauté onions and garlic for 5-7 minutes, tossing occasionally, until onion is softened and golden brown at edges. Crush whole peeled tomatoes into the pan with your hands and pour over liquid from the cans. Add basil, thyme, salt, sugar and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmering for about 1½ hours, until thickened, reduced by about ⅓ and slightly darker in color. Reserve.
  2. MEATBALLS: Place meatloaf mix in a large bowl and set aside. Place ciabatta in a small bowl with milk and set aside. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add 2 tbsp olive oil. Sauté shallots and sun-dried tomatoes until shallots are beginning to soften, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and continue to sauté an additional minute until fragrant. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  3. Squeeze excess liquid out of ciabatta and add to meatloaf mix. Add in shallot mixture, parsley, basil, grated parmesan, salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine all ingredients. (At this time, you can cook a small amount of the meatball mixture to see if it is seasoned appropriately). Form into large meatballs, about 2" in diameter each.
  4. Heat remaining olive oil in the same skilled you used to sauté the shallots over medium-high. Add meatballs and toss gently, trying to keep round shape, while browning on all sides, about 8-10 minutes. Once browned, pour cooked sauce on top and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until meat is cooked through. Serve with toasted ciabatta and additional grated parmesan.
Recipe by Jackie Ourman at