Polpette di Melanzane | Authentic Italian Eggplant “Meatball” Recipe
When properly cooked, eggplant delivers a savory punch that can actually compete with meat. Don’t believe us? Try these delicious Calabrian eggplant meatballs and we bet you won’t find yourself missing the pork or beef. This traditional recipe is vegetarian but is sure to satisfy even the most carnivorous meat lovers out there.
Watch the Pasta Grammar video:
POLPETTE DI MELANZANE RECIPE
Makes: About 15 polpette
Cook Time: 45 minutes
For this recipe, you will need:
About 26 ounces (750 g) eggplant, cut into ½ inch (1.25 cm) cubes
1.75 ounces (50 g) grated pecorino cheese, or to taste
1.75 ounces (50 g) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, or to taste
2 large eggs
1 clove garlic, diced
About 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Fresh black pepper
About 1 cup (100 g) fresh bread crumbs, plus extra for breading, adjusted to taste
Vegetable oil for frying
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and salt it generously. Add the cubed eggplant and boil for about 10 minutes, or until the eggplant is very tender. Drain and let cool to the touch.
Squeeze the excess water out of the eggplant and place it in a large mixing bowl. Add the cheeses, eggs, garlic, parsley, plenty of black pepper, and a big pinch of salt. Add about half of the bread crumbs and begin mixing the ingredients by hand.
Continue to add more bread crumbs until the mixture is soft and moldable, but not too wet or sticky. Check out the video above to see what the texture should look like! The amount of breadcrumbs needed will vary, so trust your instincts.
Fill a deep pan with about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of vegetable oil and heat over medium/high. Meanwhile, form the meatball mixture into about 15 polpette. They should be formed into flattened pucks, about 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter and 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Dust the polpette in bread crumbs.
Drop a breadcrumb into the oil to test the temperature. If it starts to bubble and fry right away, the oil is hot enough. Working in batches, carefully drop the eggplant polpette into the pan. Turn them frequently with a couple of forks and fry until browned on both sides—about 4 to 5 minutes in total. Remove to a paper towel to drain.
Serve the polpette warm and fresh. Buon appetito!