Chicken Meatballs in White Wine Sauce - Polpette di Pollo in Bianco
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
From Katie Parla’s wonderful book, Tasting Rome
Serves: 30 - 40 depending upon how your size them
  • 3 slices of day old country bread, crusts removed
  • 1 cup of chicken broth or water to soak the bread, warmed
  • Additional chicken broth or water to simmer the browned polpette, anywhere from ½ cup to 1 cup
  • 1¾ pound of ground chicken, I used a combination of dark and white meat
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1 tsp of sea salt plus more
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted pistachios, chopped
  • 2 packed Tbs. fresh Italian parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium shallots minced
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • Juice from ½ of a fresh lemon
  1. Soak the bread for a few minutes in the 1 cup of warmed chicken broth until softened, Once it has softened, squeeze out the excess liquid and place the bread in a large bowl, breaking the bread into small pieces.
  2. Add the ground chicken, eggs, garlic, salt, freshly ground pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, pistachios, and half of the parsley. Mix thoroughly with your hands until well combined, Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to sit in the refrigerator for several hours.
  3. Remove the mixture from the refrigerator, line a large sheet pan with parchment and form the mixture into walnut sized shapes, placing them on the parchment lined tray. The polpette benefits from placing in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Heat the oil in a large heavy duty frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the shallots and a pinch of salt and cook until the shallots are softened.
  5. In the meantime, remove the tray of polpette from the refrigerator and dust with the flour using a fine mesh strainer, turning them to be sure that they are evenly coated with the flour - shaking off any excess flour.
  6. Carefully add the polpette to the skillet, being sure to evenly brown them. Resist the urge to turn them too frequently and this lengthens the browning process. Once they are brown on all sides, add the wine, scraping up any brown bits from the pan with a spatula. When the aroma of the alcohol dissipates, add enough broth or water to cover the polpette halfway. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the sauce becomes a bit creamy - about 15 minutes.
  7. When ready to serve season the polpette with the lemon juice and garnish with the remaining parsley. This may be served warm or at room temperature, but I prefer them warm.
Recipe by LaBellaSorella at