Pork Polpettine with Tomatillo Marinara Sauce

Jaime Ortiz

Mazzone Hospitality/Albany NY

Jamie Ortiz presented these meatballs as an hors d’oeuvre at his Beard House event, but we’ve adapted the recipe so that you can enjoy them for dinner.


  • Pork Polpettine
  • 1 cup Italian bread, broken up into pea-sized pieces or smaller
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 pound ground pork shoulder
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced basil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Crushed red pepper flake to taste
  • Tomatillo Marinara Sauce
  • 1 New Mexico green chili or Anaheim chili
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatillos, husks removed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons minced basil, plus more for garnish
  • Sugar to taste


To make the polpettine, preheat the oven to 450ºF. Soak the bread in the milk in a large bowl for 20 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix by hand thoroughly. Form the mixture into tablespoon-sized meatballs and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the meatballs until cooked through and starting to brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and lightly sprinkle with kosher salt. Let cool.

To make the tomatillo sauce, preheat the broiler. Char the chili under the broiler until blackened and blistered, about 3 minutes. Place in a paper bag and twist the bag closed. After 15 minutes, remove the chili and peel off its skin. Seed and chop the chili. Reserve.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare an ice bath. Add the tomatillos to the boiling water and boil for 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the water and transfer them to the ice bath. When cool enough to handle, place the tomatillos in a food processor and pulse until they have been broken down to a chunky texture.

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped chili, tomatillos, and wine. Bring to a light simmer; continue simmering gently over medium heat for 15 minutes. Stir in the basil and add sugar to taste.

To serve, place a spoonful of tomatillo marinara in the bottom of a small bowl. Add 3 to 4 polpettine. Top with another spoonful of marinara and garnish with fresh basil leaves.


6 to 8 servings