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Vicenza-Style Chard Polpette

Tender beef and Swiss chard meatballs are stewed in a delicious tomato sauce. What more does one need in life?
Vicenza-Style Chard Polpette Recipe

Servings: 4


¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium red onion, halved and sliced 1⁄3-inch thick

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 pound Swiss chard, trimmed, stems and leaves sliced 1⁄4-inch thick

2 cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs

1 lb ground beef chuck

1 pound Italian sausage

½ cup milk

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

4 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane

2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram

2 tablespoons salt


2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

for the sauce:

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 red onions, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 pinch hot red pepper flakes

1 pinch ground cloves

1 cup dry red wine (valpolicella)

1 sprig rosemary

2 cups basic tomato sauce

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons roughly chopped Italian parsley


1. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium high heat. When oil is hot, stir in the onions and garlic slices. Add the chopped Swiss chard. Season with salt. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, or until chard softens.

2. Toast fresh breadcrumbs in a dry pan until toasted and deep brown but not burned, watch carefully. Set aside.

3. Uncover chard, stir and cook, for 8 or 9 minutes more, until chard is very tender then set aside to cool. When cool chop well, then place between two plates to press any liquid out.

4. Meanwhile, to make the sauce, in a large ovenproof skillet heat the olive oil over high heat until smoking. Add the onions and garlic, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until well browned, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, then add the wine and rosemary, bring to a boil, and cook until the wine is reduced by half. Add the tomato sauce and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

5. To make the meatballs, in a large bowl combine the chopped chard, beef, pork, toasted bread crumbs, milk, eggs, garlic, marjoram, salt, and pepper, and mix lightly with your hands until just combined. Form into golf ball-sized meatballs. Drop meatballs into simmering sauce, allow to poach for 30 minutes.

6. Serve in shallow bowls with the sauce, topped with parsley.

Editor's Note: This recipe is courtesy of Mario Batali.

From MUNCHIES Presents: Master of Lunch with Mario Batali