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The Taste of Northern Italy: Polenta and Meatballs


Polenta in a bowl topped with meat balls and tomato sauce next to a plate of shredded cheese, a fork, and a napkin

Polenta, a cornmeal porridge that originated in Northern Italy is the perfect substitute for a bowl full of noodles the next time you whip up a batch of meatballs. Though it's often served as a side dish, it steals the show when paired with a delicious pasta sauce, like our Organic Spicy Tuscan Tomato.


Meatballs and tomato sauce in a skillet on a stove next to a dutch over, a jar of tomato sauce, and pepper

Recipe adapted from PureWow


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2½ cups Lucini Organic Tomato Sauce of your choice


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
An uncooked bowl of polenta next to a dutch oven on a stove with a jar of tomato sauce on the counter


1. Make the meatballs: In a small skillet, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1 minute more. Set aside and let cool to room temperature. 2. In a medium bowl, combine the cooled onion mixture with the Parmesan, parsley, oregano, egg and ground beef; mix until combined. Add the bread crumbs, season with salt and pepper and then mix again. 3. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease it generously with nonstick cooking spray. 4. With a spoon, scoop the meat mixture into 1-inch balls and arrange them evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the meatballs are fully cooked, 20 to 25 minutes. Pour the tomato sauce over the meatballs, toss to coat and then return the pan to the oven until the sauce is bubbly, 10 minutes more. 5. Make the polenta: In a medium pot, bring the milk and 3 cups water to a simmer over medium heat. Whisk in the polenta and cook, whisking occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the polenta absorbs all of the liquid, 15 to 20 minutes. 7. Divide the polenta among four plates and then spoon the meatballs over the polenta. Garnish each serving with parsley and Parmesan. Serve immediately. A bowl of polenta topped with meatballs and tomato sauce next to a napkin and a fork with a jar of tomato sauce in the background. If you make this recipe, share it with us by tagging us @luciniitalia and using #luciniinspired

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