I'd studied several recipes for polpette al limone and was particularly inspired by one which suggested cooking the polpette on a bed of lemon leaves but we can't get lemons with the leaves on at this time of year. [They will come in the autumn.] I wondered for a few days what I could use instead and then it came to me - I would try with fresh bay leaves! In my version, I added pinenuts, for the very good reason that I like them in polpette and I used pane grattugiato [very fine dried breadcrumbs which we can buy in packets in Italy] instead of soaking bread in milk and then squeezing it.
OK, you need:
500 gr minced veal
2 large Sicilian or unwaxed lemons
1 clove garlic, crushed
c. 1 tablesp. chopped parsley
a few cut rosemary needles
about 8 leaves fresh sage, chopped
125 gr pane grattugiato
80 gr grated Ragusano or Parmesan cheese
seasalt and black pepper
50 gr pinenuts
2 eggs, beaten
about 20 fresh bay leaves
In a bowl, mix the veal, grated zest of the lemons, garlic, herbs, cheese, pane grattugiato, pinenuts, seasoning and eggs with a fork. Roll the mixture into balls with your hands - it should make about 14.
Lightly oil a small roasting tin and place the bay leaves in the base. Put the polpette on top of the bay leaves, then cut the zested lemons into wedges and put these in the gaps. Drizzle some olive oil over the polpette and scatter a few rosemary sprigs over the top. Cook at 180 C for 25 minutes.
These are also pretty good cold, so would make interesting picnic food.
Serves 4 generously.