Polpette {Meatballs}


What is it about a meatball that is so endearing? People LOVE meatballs. People go crazy for meatballs. I don’t know that I’ve ever met anyone that didn’t like a meatball {well okay perhaps my veggietarian friends but you know what I mean}. What’s not to love. They’re round, they’re packed full of flavor and then they’re soaked in sauce! They’re little spheres of scrumptiousness.

Normally when I make meatballs I use a combination of meats and I simmer my spheres of scrumptiousness in my sauce. But I came across a Johnsonville Sausage Italian Meatball recipe that didn’t do either. It called for what else…sausage and baking. I was intrigued. I had to try it. And guess what, I liked it! I really liked it.

It uses a package of their sausages {casings removed, I know not the funnest chore in the kitchen but hey someone has to do it} as the base and then you add in the normal combination of meatball ingredients: breadcrumbs {which I always make myself from the end pieces, great tip/trick}, egg, milk, onion, and for me Parmigiano and garlic.

I use a handy dandy cookie scooper to ensure all of my meatballs are the same size. I prefer a medium sized meatball, but hey go ahead and make them whatever size you like ; ) These meatballs are packed full of flavor {their sweet Italian sausages are already chock full of herbs so there wasn’t any need to add additional} Last step was baking which HAS to be better for us right ; )

This recipe was quick and easy and ready in a total of 30 minutes. While the meatballs were baking it gave me just enough time to simmer a quick and easy basic tomato sauce and whip up a pot of perfectly cooked al dente spaghetti to go with! Because as well all know, you MUST have spaghetti with meatballs ; )

I’ll be sharing my basic tomato sauce recipe with you shortly so stay tuned!



Polpette {Meatballs}
Adapted from Johnsonville Italian Meatballs

What you’ll need:

1 egg – beaten
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano – grated
1/4 cup onion – minced
1 clove garlic – minced
1- 19.76 ounce package sweet Italian Johnsonville sausages – casings removed

What to do:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine the egg, bread crumbs, milk, Parmigiano Reggiano, onion and garlic. Mix to combine.

2. Add sausage to the bread crumb mixture and mix well.

3. Spray a rimmed cooking sheet with cooking spray. Using a cookie scooper, scoop out 24 meatballs onto cooking sheet. Shape into balls with your hands.

4. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.

Buon Appetito!


  1. 1

    Meatballs make the world go around and stick them with pasta and I am in heaven.

  2. 2

    Oh, I’m definitely going to try these! My husband loves italian sausage, and I don’t add it to past very often. He’ll love these!

  3. 3

    Classic comfort food!

  4. 4

    So quick and easy and the perfect comfort food!

  5. 5

    I just love a pasta sauce using sausage instead of beef so I know I’d love these polpette! And this reminds me that we haven’t had pasta in quite a little while…supper’s planned!

  6. 6

    That looks so easy! I can do that!!! I never thought of using an ice cream scoop for meatballs. That makes so much sense. Thanks for the idea!

  7. 7
    lisa bailey /

    The Ultimate Comfort Food when your Mama is Italian. Aaah, makes me homesick for childhood days.

  8. 8
    Domenic - Toronto /

    Beautifully done.Not sure about the Johnsonville sausage thou.

  9. 9

    Ohh, sausage meatballs! Yum! Love the shot with the spoon … so adorable!

  10. 10
    Bobbi Jo /

    Hello my friend, I wanted to let you know how amazing Mike said the spaghetti and meatballs were. He forgot mine though!

  11. 11

    Oh my gosh, please come to my house and teach me how to twirl pasta like that! Oh, and bring meatballs! Lots of ’em! 🙂

  12. 12

    I’ve made a meatless version dubbed Popette’s but these cousins look fabulous too. Have to agree with Kelly…the spoon photo is perfect.

  13. 13

    These look sooooo good! I’m totally craving some meatballs for dinner now.

  14. 14

    this looks fantastic:) so delicious and very comforting!

  15. 15

    Meatballs just make the world go round don’t they?

    I’m loving the last shot with the wooden spoon! Divine!

  16. 16

    I love meatballs as tiny tapas. Your pics are mouthwatering!

  17. 17

    I am so excited – now I know what to do with the ends of my bread!! Never thought to save them up for breadcrumbs. Great idea to use use those sausages as meatballs. Wouldn’t even mind removing those casings 😉 xo

  18. 18

    Oh yam, Paula! I recently came up with an equally wonderful meatball recipe, roughly it’s like yours, but here are the spices that went into the meat (on top of meat):

    -parmesan (just like you)
    -grated onion
    -minced garlic
    -salt pepper etc (I like montreal steak seasoning, a mc cormick product)

    Then I made the sauce of :

    -sauteed onions and carrots
    -tomato paste
    -canned tomatoes

    Cooked meatballs until they were done. I may have added extra cheese into the sauce at the last moment. Thought I’d share! Thanks for writing this great blog.

  19. 19

    I love the idea for this shortcut! So much time cut out, without losing flavor!

  20. 20

    I can’t have tooooo many meatball recipe and believe it or not, never used sausage before. Thank you for sharing!

  21. 21
    Molly /

    I just made this for a lunch party and they were absolutely fantastic!!! thank you so much for the recipe!!

  22. 22

    My favorite spaghetti with meatballs, just extravagant and nice recipe!

  23. 23
    Loke /

    Is the tomato sauce recipe the same as the one you used for the Pork Chops with Tomato Sauce?

    • 23.1

      Hi Loke, no it’s not. It’s just a simple tomato sauce that I simmer quickly while the meatballs are cooking. I’ll be posting my basic tomato sauce recipe soon though : )

  24. 24
    traci v. /

    I made these using ground chicken italian sausage (freshly ground at my market) and they were amazing! I made a simple homemade tomato sauce and served over ww rigatoni. perfection! thanks for the great recipe.


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