Nonna's Parmesan Patties

This Italian Family
by This Italian Family
13 patties
40 min

Super tasty and addictive vegetarian patties.

This is a really special recipe. It’s the one of my grandma’s famous “polpette” (=patties), and they are the thing that EVERYONE asks every Sunday for her to make and that so far no one was able to replicate, until now. Because she has done this recipe so much, she can never repeat it to anyone without missing some steps, so the result is inevitably different 🙈 so my uncle actually filmed her for me doing it and then I experimented a bit with the doses until I finally got it!!! And I’m now ready to pass it on to you as these patties deserve to be world-famous, not just local-famous.

She told me these are part of the very old tradition during the second world war, when the poor people didn’t have meat, but always had some cheese and bread. I cannot wait for you to try them and get a taste of traditional northern Italy. Kids are sure to love them too!!!

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Recipe details
  • 13  patties
  • Prep time: 20 Minutes Cook time: 20 Minutes Total time: 40 min
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  • 1 1/2 cups white breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups grated parmesan
  • 2 level tbsp ground allspice
  • 3 tbsp parsley
  • 1 small rosemary branch
  • 2 sage leaves
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • flour
  • vegetable oil

Chop the sage and rosemary very finely.
Mix them together with the breadcrumbs and parmesan into a bowl and add the allspice, parsley, egg and milk.
Start adding the stock bit by bit, whilst mixing, until you get quite a wet mixture, but that still holds together when moulded.
Leave it to rest for 10-15 minutes so that the bread soaks up the stock and the mixture firms up a bit more.
Dust your hands well with flour and get 1 tbsp of mixture, rolling it into a ball and then flattening with the palm of your hands into a 1 ½ cm thick patty. Repeat until you finish the mixture.
Lightly oil a wide non-stick pan, and then add the patties. Leave to cook on a very low hear with the lid on until nice and golden (not brown) and then flip over. It will take about 5-10 minutes per side.
Serve warm or heat up before serving if you are making them in advance! They are great on their own served with some veg on the side or can soak up the gravy of a roast or juices of a stew.
  • While allspice is a spice on its own, not a blend, it's very easy to create a similar-tasting mixture with spices you already have in your kitchen. Whisk 3½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1¼ teaspoons ground nutmeg and a pinch of ground cloves, then use as a 1:1 replacement for ground allspice in a recipe.
This Italian Family
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  • PatR PatR on Aug 23, 2022

    Are these fresh bread crumbs? They look so good!

    • This Italian Family This Italian Family on Aug 23, 2022

      Yes fresh breadcrumbs are better than store-bought. I usually save up lots of stale/hard bread and then grate it to make these.

  • Cso51108026 Cso51108026 on Aug 25, 2022

    O. M. G. I am doing this, like, tomorrow, and making fresh tomato sauce to dip!!! Question: Do you know/have you tried panko??? I have almost zero stale bread, though, I suppose I could put some bread into the oven to dry it out... Do you use crusts? Pulse in food processor? Just wondering, since it's been a lifetime since I made fresh bread - I usually use it to saturate in milk to make meatballs! lol Thanks so much, this sounds SO GOOD, like, addictive!!!! A quick garden marinara to dip, and I'm about to be in Parmesan Heaven!!! lol ~Chrissie

    • This Italian Family This Italian Family on Aug 25, 2022

      Oh yum, love the idea of the garden marinara! Not sure what you mean by Panko exactly as here in Italy it's just another word for breakcrumbs, so not sure what the difference is. I usually buy some fresh bread rolls (not milk ones, just plain water, flour and salt bread rolls) and leave them out for 2-3 days, then they are ready to process, and I use the whole bread, not just the crust. I do pulse them in the food processor, just don't make them go too pulverised, you don't want bread flour :D I usually keep them quite coarse. If you don't want to wait for bread to go stale, you can indeed break the bread apart into big chuncks and toast in the in the oven literally for a few minutes, until it's not so soft. It doesn't need to be super hard to work. Hope this helps