March 11, 2014 |

A meatball worth bragging about

By Jeremy White

Polpette Napoletana, Goldsmith Wide

Polpette Alla Napoletana, photo courtesy of Jonathan Goldsmith

I love meatballs. So it should come as no surprise that I usually try them whenever I see them on a pizzeria’s menu. And though they are exceptionally easy to make from scratch, too many operators still simply don’t get them right. Sometimes, the problems come in the preparation stage. Too dense. Other times they aren’t cooked properly. Too dry.

And sometimes, they are just … perfect.


Spacca Napoli owner and International Pizza Challenge judge Jonathan Goldsmith

Our friend Jonathan Goldsmith, an International Pizza Challenge judge and owner of Spacca Napoli, one of my favorite Chicago pizzerias, recently wowed me with a meatball recipe that is too good not to share.

This is a meatball true to Spacca Napoli’s Neapolitan sensibility. It’s a meatball that is unlike anything American diners are accustomed to eating. And it floored me with its texture and taste. I’m guessing you’ll like it, too. Give it a try: Polpette Alla Napoletana.

According to Jonathan, what makes these meatballs stand out is the use of dry, crustless bread that has been softened by soaking in water. They give the meatballs an unexpected lightness. But, for me, it’s the use of pine nuts as well as the sweet touch of the raisins that make Jonathan’s Polpette Alla Napoletana distinctive.