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  • Writer's picturePasta Grammar

Polpette di Tonno | Italian Tuna Fish Meatball Recipe

These delicious tuna meatballs may seem like a pescatarian alternative to traditional meatballs, but far from it. They are irresistible in their own right and you may find yourself facing a hard choice between tuna and pork in the future.

Polpette di Tonno | Italian Tuna Fish Meatball Recipe

The secret to excellent tuna meatballs is an excellent tuna. Look for high quality, chunk tuna that is canned or jarred in extra-virgin olive oil. Your cat will appreciate the Chicken of the Sea version, but you and your guests won’t.

Watch the Pasta Grammar video:


Makes: About 10 polpette

Cook Time: 45 minutes

For this recipe, you will need:

  • About 9 ounces (250 g) chunk tuna fish in olive oil (measured after draining, about 12 ounces or 340 g net weight)

  • 1.75 ounces (50 g) grated pecorino cheese, or to taste

  • 1.75 ounces (50 g) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, or to taste

  • 3 large eggs

  • 2 anchovies (stored in oil)

  • About 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

  • Fresh black pepper

  • Salt

  • About 1 ½ cups (150 g) fresh bread crumbs, adjusted to taste

  • 3 cups (700 ml) simple tomato sauce

In a large mixing bowl, combine the drained tuna, cheeses, eggs, anchovies, 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.

Bring the tomato sauce to a gentle simmer in a medium pot. Meanwhile, roll the tuna mixture into 2 inch (5 cm) diameter balls.

Place the tuna meatballs into the tomato sauce. Gently swirl the pot to coat them evenly in sauce. Cover the pot and let the meatballs simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, swirling the pot occasionally to stir. If the sauce thickens too much as the meatballs cook, simply thin it with a little warm water as needed.

Serve warm, topped with plenty of extra sauce. Buon appetito!

This recipe requires a simple and delicious homemade tomato sauce. Want a recipe? Look no further! Looking for more ways to use high quality tuna? Check out our recipe for Tuna & Lemon Pasta!


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