"I never thought it was possible for a meatball to melt in your mouth, until now", says My Family Feast presenter Sean Connolly. Sean watches on as Paula Pacialeo whips up a Calabrese family favourite. Paula usually makes one pile of meat and matches it with an evenly-sized pile of a mixture of breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese or pecorino with cracked pepper.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (221 votes)



  • 1 kg veal mince (or a mixture of veal and pork)
  • breadcrumbs (see Note)
  • grated parmesan cheese 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • 750 ml bottle tomato sauce (homemade if available)
  • ½ bunch basil (optional)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Add the breadcrumbs and cheese to the meat. Then add the eggs, salt, pepper, garlic and parsley. Combine all ingredients with your hands. Adjust the consistency by adding more of the breadcrumb mixture if too moist or another egg if too dry.

Mix all together with a kneading action. Finally add a couple of tablespoons of the tomato sauce. Roll mixture into small balls.

Place the remaining sauce and the basil leaves, if using, in a wide pan and bring to a gentle simmer over low heat. Add the polpette and cook over low heat for 30 minutes or until just cooked through.


• After cooking a meal in the oven, use the dying heat to make breadcrumbs for another occasion. Cut the remains of a loaf of leftover bread into chunks and  leave in oven until dry. Crush and keep in airtight containers.