Polpettine in Agrodolce Di Gangivecchio (Sweet Sour Meatballs)

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“This recipe is from the restaurant located in Gangivecchio, the 600-year-old Tornabene family home in Sicily. In Italian, antipasti literally means "before the meal." Appropriately enough, antipasti are small portions of foods that are served as a tantalizing overture to the fundamental courses in a menu. At Gangivecchio, they typically serve three or four of an assortment of antipasti rustici. A small amount of each antipasto is arranged on individual plates for every diner. In Sicily, until the last several decades, antipasti were served only at special celebrations or large functions like weddings and official receptions. Many Sicilians were too poor and too busy to prepare antipasti. Restaurants really invented antipasti, which were and are often still temptingly displayed on a long table containing as many as two dozen or more dishes. These dishes ranged from stuffed vegetables to marinated seafood, usually served at room temperature.”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 lb ground veal
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumb
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 12 tablespoons fresh pecorino cheese, grated
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 12 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water


  1. In a bowl combine the veal, egg, bread crumbs, parsley, and pecorino and season with salt and pepper. Shape lightly into 1-inch balls (about 36).
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan. Cook the veal balls over medium heat until brown all over and just cooked through, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and stir in the onions. Season with salt and cook over medium-low heat until the onions are limp, about 15 minutes, stirring often. Don't let the onions brown.
  4. Stir in the vinegar, sugar, and water.
  5. Return the meatballs to the pan and gently turn to coat them lightly in the sauce. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, shaking the pan frequently. Transfer to a serving dish and cool. Serve at room temperature.

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