Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Torta di Polpettini - Meatball quiche

All meatballs are not created equal. Some were meant for tomato sauce and spaghetti. Others were destined for .................. quiche? Well, I like to think of this as torta di polpettini, the Italian version of quiche. I know I'm not stretching this too far, because I saw something similar to it on an Italian cooking show called "La Prova Del Cuoco." I don't usually write down the ingredients because I watch the show when I'm working out on my NordicTrack. But the idea was simmering in my brain since I saw it several months ago. I figured my Italian chit-chat group would be the perfect guinea pigs when I attempted to recreate what I saw on TV. I don't think they used caramelized onion on the show, but I love the sweet flavor it adds. Don't skip it. I should tell you I blind-baked the crust for 20 minutes ahead of time -- on a pizza stone. It was cooked and firm, but after baking with the filling, I thought it got a little soggy. Next time, I might bake this without the crust entirely.
Place the polpettini (mini meatballs) over the caramelized onions.
Pour the filling over the meatballs and bake.
The meatballs get browner as the torta bakes, so be careful you don't overdo it.
Now I'm all for spaghetti and meatballs, but a little torta di polpettini, with all that cheese, eggs and cream is pretty hard to resist. Back to the NordicTrack I go.

Meatball Quiche - Torta di Polpettini
printable recipe here

your favorite pie crust recipe (or eliminate it - grease the pan and bake without a crust)

small meatballs (about 44)

For the meatballs:

2 1-2 - 3 pounds of ground meat (I used ground turkey)
about 1/3 of a large loaf of sturdy white Italian bread, preferably a day old
about 1 cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup minced parsley
1 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper

Trim the crusts off the bread. Dry the crusts in the oven and use to make bread crumbs for another recipe. Tear the bread into chunks and place into a bowl with the milk. Let the bread soak for at least 15 minutes or until it has absorbed the milk and softened. Squeeze as much milk as possible from the bread and discard the milk (or give to the cat). Squish the bread pieces with your fingers into a bowl with the ground meat until there are no big lumps. Add the remaining ingredients and blend well with your hands. Shape into round balls. Place on a baking sheet or broiling pan and broil or bake at high heat (450 - 500), watching carefully so they don't burn. For this recipe, they don't really have to brown fully on the outside, because they'll brown up when they're baked in the torta. 

1/2 cup sliced onions
2 T. olive oil

Saute the onions in the olive oil for about 1/2 hour at low heat, until they are browned and caramelized. Place the onions in the bottom of the pan, or the pastry crust. Place the meatballs over the onions. 

for the filling:
1 cup heavy cream or 1/2 and 1/2
3 eggs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 oz. mozzarella cheese
minced parsley
salt, pepper to taste

Beat the eggs with a whisk, add the rest of the ingredients and pour over the meatballs and onions. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes.

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Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That looks and sounds ever so scrumptious! A great idea and definitely something for me as I love meatballs...



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Hazel - Chicken in a Cherry Sauce said...

Oh my, this sounds incredible! What a tasty idea!

domenicacooks said...

What a fun idea. My kids will love this.

bellini said...

I love this idea and might eliminate the crust myself only because of watching my waistline. Maybe a potato crust could be substituted in that case, or as you suggested none at all.

FOODalogue said...

Ooh, love! Looks great and it makes perfect sense. It's a must try for me!

Stacey Snacks said...

Henry would LOVE this!!!!!

janie said...

You had me with meatballs! I am going crazy for this and want a piece right now. I love that show and always crack up when they sing those silly songs!

black eyed susans kitchen said...

My mouth is watering...I will be a rock star when I put this on the table for fathers day brunch! Thanks Linda!!
♥, Susan

Mister Meatball said...

I am with you on all things here BUT the turkey.

That's all I'm gonna say.

Claudia said...

On my agenda for this week. (With the turkey Mister Meatball - there's only so much of the treadmill I can take.) Love how you breathed new life into meatballs. However - the cat doesn't get milk. (Not for lack of trying)

Linda said...

I must say, that looks delicious and such a clever use for meatballs. This would make a great dish to add to big family buffet.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Now that is a great idea!So unique, I never saw anything like this. I love the way it looks too. So you think you would bake it without a crust next time? I will try it without then, and with the turkey meatballs!

Lori Lynn said...

Hi Linda - this is terrific. I've never seen anything like it, so creative and attractive! Who wouldn't love a slice of this? Brava!

Daniela said...

E' un'idea fantastica questa torta con le polpettine, bellissime le foto. Un abbraccio Daniela.

AdriBarr said...

OK, Linda, that is one very cool idea. I must try this. Thanks!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

That would be worth some double-duty on a treadmill! What a delicious idea!

Frank said...

I would never have thought of using meatballs this way, but now that you mention it… sounds very nice!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

This looks absoluelty delicious, Linda! I can't wait to serve this at my next party.

Chiara Giglio said...

per poco perdevo questa ricetta, è splendida e molto originale Linda!

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

All I can say is "Wow, I love this!" A meatball quiche is pure genius and what a fun dish to serve with a green salad for a casual meal. I like bellini's suggestion of a potato crust.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Wow. I love this idea. Each ingredient is wonderful on it's own (the meatballs,the onions,the eggs filling) but I'm sure it's magic when you bring them all together.

Sue/the view from great island said...

I do the same thing, watch the cooking shows while I'm on the treadmill and then try to memorize what they're doing. You did a superb job, I love little meatballs and I'd follow them anywhere, even into a quiche. Great recipe!

Michele said...

I love this idea. It's so unique! Can't wait to give it a try!