Sunday, June 23 2024

Eggplant Polpette are a tasty and flavorful main course, the vegetarian alternative to classic meatballs.

In my recipe, cooked eggplant is combined with eggs, grated Parmigiano cheese, breadcrumbs, pine nuts and garlic, but there are many variations of eggplant polpette, and each region of southern Italy boasts its own version: the best known are undoubtedly the Sicilian ones, flavored with fresh mint and caciocavallo ragusano cheese, but the Calabrian ones, which involve the addition of pecorino cheese, and the Neapolitan ones, made with a mixture of stale bread and grated cheese, are also excellent.




Makes about 30 Eggplant Polpette


  • 1 lb eggplants, cut into 1¼–1Β½ inches cubes
  • 3/4 cup of breadcrumbs from day old bread
  • 1/2 cup of pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minces
  • 2 small red chillies, minced
  • 3 tbsp of finely chopped parsley
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • 2/3 cup of fine dry breadcrumbs





Bring 1/2 cup water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil in a large pot.

Add eggplants and boil for about 10 minutes, uncovered, until soft, repeatedly pushing them under water with a wooden spoon while cooking.


Drain, cool, and press with a spoon to remove excess liquid.

Chop and place in a bowl with the wet breadcrumbs, pine nuts, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, garlic, chili, eggs, and parsley.

Mix gently with a fork. Season.

Heat some olive oil in a frying pan until hot and fry a tablespoon of the mixture to control the seasoning.

Form into 1-inch (2.5-cm) balls and arrange them on a tray.

If the mixture is too moist to roll easily, add more fresh bread crumbs.

Dip each ball in the dry breadcrumbs to coat them evenly.

Pour the oil into a wide skillet to a depth of 1 cm (Β½ inch).

Turn the heat to medium and, when the oil begins to shimmer, dip a ball in.

If it starts sizzling immediately, the oil is ready.

Fry the balls until golden brown all over.

Drain on paper towels. Cool for 10 minutes and serve.

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