Chicken Meatballs in white wine sauce

Polpette di Pollo in Bianco

Chicken Meatballs in White Wine Sauce

From "Tasting Rome" by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill


3 slices day-old bread of any kind, crusts removed

1 cup chicken broth or water, plus more for cooking, warmed (I used about 1 1/2 cups)

1 3/4 pounds ground chicken

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more as needed

freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 

3 tablespoons pistachios, chopped (I doubled this)

2 packed tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium shallots, minced

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup dry white wine (I used about 3/4 cup)

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)


Soak the bread for a few minutes in 1 cup warm chicken broth. When it has softened, squeeze out the excess liquid and place the bread in a large bowl.

Add the ground chicken, eggs, garlic, salt, pepper to taste, cinnamon, nutmeg, pistachios, and half the parsley. Mix thoroughly by hand. Form the mixture into balls roughly the size of walnuts and set aside.

In a large frying pan or cast-iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the shallots and a pinch of salt and cook until soft, about five minutes. (At this point, I removed the shallots and browned the meatballs, then put the shallots back in and added the wine and the broth, etc.)

Meanwhile, lightly dust the meatballs all over with flour (a mesh strainer works well for this) and shake off any excess. Add them to the pan and brown all over. Add the wine, scraping up any browned bits from the sides and bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula. When the alcohol aroma dissipates, about a minute, add enough broth or water to cover the meatballs about halfway. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cook, covered, until a creamy sauce has formed, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Season with lemon juice, garnish with the remaining parsley, and serve the meatballs warm or at room temperature with the sauce spooned over.


tip: If the meatball mixture is sticky, wet your hands with warm water before rolling.


All photos and recipes reprinted with permission from Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City. Copyright (c) 2016 by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill. Photographs copyright (c) 2016 by Kristina Gill. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers,  an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.