Tuna polpette

Tuna polpette

Tuna Polpette

Polpette are traditionally made with minced beef or pork and are spherical, like small golf balls. We make them with tuna and flatten them to make the most of the crispy, cheesy, lemony surface – delicious!

Serves 2: Preparation 20-30 mins. Cooking 20-30 mins.


2 splashes olive oil
½ bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
½ onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
400g can chopped tomatoes with herbs (or without, if you prefer)
1 tablespoon sundried tomato paste [e.g. Sacla]
2-3 tbs water
75g crusty white bread – ‘grand rustic’ or similar
10g approx, pine nuts
20g emmental (or gruyere) cheese, finely grated
15g parmesan cheese, finely grated + extra, to serve
120g can tuna [e.g. John West ‘no drain’ in olive oil]
grated zest & juice of ½ lemon
1 medium egg

125g dried egg fettucine (or tagliatelle/pappardelle)
[e.g. De Cecco fettuccine all’uovo]

sea salt and ground black pepper to season


  1. Heat a splash of olive oil in medium saucepan and gently fry the onion & garlic in until it softens. Add the tomatoes, sun dried tomato paste and 2-3 tbs water. Season to taste. Simmer for 15-20 mins to reduce somewhat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and put to one side.
  2. Meanwhile, blitz the bread in a blender, blend in the pine nuts then transfer to a decent sized mixing bowl. Add the finely grated emmental and parmesan, around half of the finely chopped parsley and the grated lemon zest. Add a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Mix well with a fork as each ingredient is added. Finely crumble the tuna (drained, as necessary) and combine with the bread mixture. Add the lemon juice and the egg, and mix thoroughly. Compress with a fork before turning the mixture out onto a flat surface. Divide into 10 segments and form into small flattened discs about 2cm thick with a palette knife. Chill for 20 minute in the fridge. And have a glass of wine, yourself.
  3. The final stage takes about 8 mins. Fry the polpette in a splash of olive oil for 4 mins either side on a medium high heat, avoiding sticking. Cook the fettucine in boiling water for 4 mins (or as directed) and drain. Meanwhile, gently re-heat the tomato sauce and further reduce any surplus liquid.
  4. Arrange the polpette on the drained pasta, top with the tomato sauce and sprinkle with the remaining chopped parsley to garnish. Add grated parmesan at the table, as desired.

Tip:  The best bread to use is the Italian-style ‘rustic’ bread that is used for making panini, such as the Waitrose ‘grand rustic’ loaf. Sainsbury’s rustic or sourdough rolls from the bakery are a similar texture. Cut the bread into 3-5cm cubes and store in the freezer.

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