Polpetta in front of the Paralympics

So it’s back from my holidays and back on the sofa as the Paralympics kicks off with more sporting bonzanas for my viewing mixed in with a small splattering of the US open to see if Murray can build on his Olympic glory with his first Grand Slam title. The Opening Ceremony was a slightly less complicated affair which made, in my opinion, for better viewing and a greater celebration of the athletes. I dozed off during the Olympic Ceremony and missed most of the athletes (the actual reason for the event!) coming into the stadium and whilst I’m all for celebrating the fabulous institution that is the NHS it was, as my Italian husband commented, an usual subject with which to ring in the Olympics.

I confess that in the past I’ve followed very little of the Paralympics and aside from being able to name Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson (thanks to her London marathon fame as well as the paralympics) I know none of the Team GB athletes flying the flag in London. But this is something I hope to change over the course of the next 2 weeks!

First up was Sarah Storey who’s race I didn’t catch but who’s medal ceremony and multiple replays I was able to see last night as well as catching Jonathon Fox in the pool. Together with my husband and friend Alison, we watched with interest as the different categories of athletes and events were explained in the pool with each level of physical ability or disability classified to ensure that races are as evenly matched as possible. By no means an easy task! We watched as arm-less swimmers started a back stroke race by holding a towel in their mouths which their trainers used to support them until the starting alarm sounded and despite this physical challenge clocked faster times than most able bodied people could claim. Inspiring doesn’t do justice to the skill and technique involved.

I’ve followed the story of Martine Wright who lost her legs in the 7/7 bombings and is now representing Team GB in the women’s sitting volleyball. I watched Martine’s story on the anniversary of 7/7 where survivors relived their experiences and  Martine recounted seeing her new trainers hanging above her on the tube, not realising she had lost her legs. An incredible story and now an incredible opportunity to represent her country and put triumph over adversity. Every athlete has their own story and the London Paralympics is doing a fantastic job so far of promoting sports to people of all disabilities and I in turn am enjoying every minute of viewing from my sofa here in Milan.

Having just got home from 2 weeks of indulging in Tyrolese specialities in the Dolomites our first meal was a strictly Italian affair of polpetta or meatballs as many of us know them. As opposed to the classic meatball in tomato sauce on a bed of spaghetti which is so often offered in Italian restaurants around the world, here in the north of Italy they tend to be eaten pan-fried with a squeeze of lemon and a simple side salad.


Ingredients: 450g minced beef, 1 egg, 80g breadcrumbs, 50g grated parmesan, 2-4 slices of chopped salami, salt and pepper to flavour, 30-50g milk, flour for rolling

Preparation: 15 mins + 15 mins Frying

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and leave to chill in the fridge fo5 5-10 minutes.
  2. Modify the quantity of milk accordingly as different bread crumbs (fresh brad vs shop) can make the mixture differ in moisture. You want it to stick together enough to be able to roll the balls and for them to stay whole.
  3. The addition of salami adds an extra dimension to the flavour and you can vary between normal or a spicier variety if preferred.
  4. Once chilled, roll into small meatballs on a floured chopping board.

5. Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan and once hot place the polpetta in. Make sure the oil is properly hot so that the polpetta immediately fry and don’t soak up too much oil.

6. Leave for c. 5 mins and once nicely browned turn them over to cook on the under side.

7. Once browned on both sides leave to cook for a further few minutes to ensure that the insides are sufficiently cooked and then drain onto a plate with some kitchen towel before serving with lemon halves.

8. Serve with a fresh leaf salad and tomatoes for a great summer supper.

As I go to print I’ve just seen the morning’s headlines on yesterdays medal successes. Go Team GB!


2 Responses to “Polpetta in front of the Paralympics”
  1. Thought the Paralympics are fantastic, the coverage on Channel 4 is abysmal – I can’t bring myself to watch it… Also, I don’t think Andy Murray will win the US Open – Djokovic and Feds are looking too strong. Though I’ll be happy if either Fed or Murray win… I’ve never had polpetta – but they sound and look really tasty.

    • Yes, have to agree that C4 not great. Never say never though re. Murray as Laura Robson has been on fire since her Olympic success so you never know! You have to try Polpetta as delicious and don’t think meatballs in tomato sauce as they are so much more delicious this way (in my humble opinion).

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