Recipe Mondeghili (Polpette Milanesi) – Italian fried meatballs

Mondeghili (MON-deh-KEE-lee) are deep fried meatballs. The recipe is originated from Milan, Italy. Most of Italians know them as “Polpette” (pol-PET-teh), means meatballs. The word “Polpette” are widely used among people who are not from Milan.

They are considered as peasant food (food for poor people). The idea of ingredients is to use leftover meat and bread to create meatballs. Nothing wasted in the old time… good idea even for the present time.

It is normally served as second course, accompanied with salad or grilled vegetables. Sometimes it is served with tomato sauce.
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Ingredients (for 4 people)
Ground beef 400 grams
Mortadella Bologna 150 grams
Italian sausage “Salsiccia” 150 grams
Bread (any kind) 100 grams
Grated parmesan cheese 100 grams
Milk 1 cup
2 eggs
Butter 20 grams
Garlic 1 clove (minced)
Chopped parsley 2 teaspoons
Salt 2 teaspoons
Black pepper 1 teaspoon
Breadcrumbs (to coat meatballs) 1 cup
Oil (to fry) 2 cups
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Directions
Slice bread into little pieces then soak them in milk. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
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Slice mortadella into small pieces then put them in food processor until it is minced well.
For Italian sausage “Salsiccia”, remove the skin and take only the meat inside.
Mix all 3 kinds of meat together; ground beef, mortadella and salsiccia.
Add the rest of ingredients; soaked bread, grated parmesan, 2 eggs, butter, garlic, chopped parsley, salt and black pepper.
Mix well altogether.
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Form the mixture into meatballs. Make them into round shape (4-5 cm), with height around 1-1.5 cm.
Coat meatballs with breadcrumbs.
Deep fry into a pan with low heat.
Mondeghili could be served as hot or at room temperature.
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Bread (Bocconcino Morbido), it was our leftover… perfect to use for mondeghili.

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Slice bread into pieces then soak them in milk

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Salsiccia and Mortadella
Mortadella is cured pork, which contains 15% fat. It is slightly smoked, originated from Bologna, Italy.
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Slice mortadella into pieces then put into food processer.

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Remove salsiccia’s skin, we only need the meat inside.
Salsiccia in Italy is made from ground pork, marinated with some spices such as garlic, pepper, nutmeg, etc. A tradition form is like sausage with long shape.

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Mix all the meats together

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Mix well all the ingredients.

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Form meatballs into round shape, it also could be form into oval shape (like egg).

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Coat meatballs with breadcrumbs and deep fry in a pan.

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Let them sit on paper towel for a bit so they will not be too oily before serving.

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Mondeghili or Polpette Milanesi — ready to serve.

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9 comments
  1. Fabius said:

    Nice one, but if you don’t mind, as Milanese I would respectfully make a couple of spcifications: in the original mondeghili recipe the leftover meat should be cooked (remaining of boiled meat or stewed meat) and they should be fried in butter OR butter AND oil like the typical milanese frying method (this goes also for Costoletta alla Milanese and for the onions when you want to cook Risotto alla Milanese).
    Another note about the pronunciation: MON-deh-GHEE-lee with the G “hard” as in “go”.
    Thank you for sharing this recipe I love so much and that is nearly perfect; from a person not only not Milanese but also not Italian, it’s something absolutely astonishing since you caught the real spirit of this recipe much better than many Italians.
    Best regards
    Fabius

    • Tamabea said:

      Dear Fabius, thank you very much for your comment. It is very helpful to get certain information from a person who is truly Milanese. Yes, I have been told about using butter to fry. Next time, I’ll be sure to try it. I love Milanese cuisine, I think it is exquisite and original… In the near future, I will try to make Osso Buco with Risotto alla Milanese 🙂 I’ve tried this dish a few times before and I love it!

      • Fabius said:

        To tell the truth I use it very seldom since I don’t want my and my diners’ cholesterol go to the stars.
        And if you promise not to tell anyone, I also confess that I often cook them in the oven since they are much lighter, even though this way they are mondeghili just in the mixture but not in the cooking 😉
        You are doing a very helpful work since now I don’t have any problems in translating italian recipes for my friends in Australia when they ask something to me.
        P.S. Ossobuco with risotto alla milanese will give you a lot of satisfaction for sure.

  2. Fabius said:

    Uh, I almost forgot: the cheese should be better Grana Padano that’s very similar to Parmesan Cheese but comes from the nearby country 😉

    • Tamabea said:

      Thanks. Yes, I know Grana Padano. It is very similar to Parmesan like you said 🙂

  3. Christina said:

    Thank you so much! I’ve been looking for this recipe since my Italian host mother made it for me! I know I could’ve e-mailed her and asked but I wanted to see if I could find a recipe online first!

    • Tamabea said:

      Glad you find it helpful ^.^ enjoy!

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