This vegetarian Polpettone recipe from Genoa, Italy is brought to us by our Italian recipe developer Giorgia Fontana. Check out her write up below as well as a ‘holiday version’ of this recipe.
In general, if you talk about preparing polpettone around Italy, what most people would think about is some kind of meatloaf. The Italian term polpettone in fact, can be literally translated as large meatball. This said, here in Genoa things are a little different:
In Liguria, the region where I grew up and where I live, the Appennini mountains drop directly into the Mediterranean Sea with no flat land in between. The natural landscape is absolutely stunning, but this leaves basically no space at all for farms and ranches. This is why historically most of our diet is based on fish and vegetables. Even today, most of the traditional Ligurian dishes contain very little to no meat at all.
For this very reason, even though in the rest of the country polpettone is a meat-based preparation, for us in Genoa is a delicious vegetarian main dish made with potatoes and green beans. I can still remember the puzzled look on the face of my friends from another region when one night I made this polpettone for dinner!
In any case, this vegetarian mishmash is delightful to eat and will leave you full and satisfied. It’s not the case that Polpettone alla Genovese is a preparation that every Ligurian nonna knows how to make and that every local osteria has on its menu!
The steps to follow are very easy and the ingredients extremely inexpensive. In fact, the only slight downside of this recipe is that it takes around one hour to make from start to finish. However, the taste is so good that I promise you it will be completely worth it! Moreover, polpettone is great to eat even at room temperature and for this reason I usually make a little more than necessary so that I can also enjoy it the next day for lunch at work.
Post Holiday Polpettone using Leftover Potatoes and Green Beans
Turning leftovers into new culinary delights is one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen. Polpettone is the perfect dish to make after any holiday where you have leftover mashed potatoes and green beans. This will cut your prep time down to 5 minutes and possibly be more delicious than the original recipe (depending on your mashed potatoes). You will start with step #7 of the instructions and mix 1 clove of minced garlic along with the mashed potatoes, green beans, Parmesan cheese, eggs, marjoram and pepper. Mix well with a fork. Next, follow steps 8-12. You will end up with a creamy version of Polpettone that will give a whole new flavor to your leftovers!
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