4.34 from 3 votes

Polpette all’uccelletto - Sausage meatballs cooked in stewed beans

Course Main Course
Cuisine Tuscan
Keyword sausages, meatballs, beans
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4 people


For meatballs

  • 200 g (7 oz) of ground beef
  • 100 g (3,5 oz) of fresh pork sausages, without the case
  • 1 medium potato, boiled
  • 2 tablespoons of grated pecorino romano
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Some sage leaves
  • ½ teaspoon of fennel seeds
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • All purpose flour

For the stewed beans

  • Some sage leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz or 3 ½ cups) of cannellini beans, already cooked
  • 300 ml (1 ⅓ of a cup) of bean cooking water
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste


  • Heat the oven to 180°C (350°F)
  • Start by preparing the meatballs. Put the ground beef in a bowl and add the riced boiled potato, the crumbled sausages, the grated pecorino cheese and the finely chopped garlic clove with sage leaves. Pound the fennel seeds in a mortar, reducing them into powder, then sprinkle them into the bowl.
  • Now roll up your sleeves and mix all the ingredients with your hands. When you think they are ready, continue for another minute. Season with salt and pepper, but do not exaggerate as you have already used savoury ingredients, such as the pecorino and the fresh sausage.
  • Shape the meatballs with your hands, as big as a walnut, and roll them into the flour.
  • Place the meatballs in a baking pan lined with parchment paper, then drizzle with olive oil. Gently shake the pan so that the meatballs, rolling in the pan, will be evenly coated with olive oil.
  • Arrange the meatballs again into the pan, keeping them slightly spaced, and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden. Remove the meatballs from the oven and set aside.
  • Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large, deep pan with two cloves of garlic - leave the skin on and crush them with the palm of your hand - and some sage leaves. When the garlic has infused the olive oil and the sage leaves begin to get crisp, pour the beans with a few ladlefuls of their cooking water, add the tomato paste, stir and cook over low flame. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Let the beans simmer over a gentle heat for about twenty minutes, then add the meatballs and cook for further ten minutes.
  • Serve the meatballs hot, accompanied by the stewed beans, with some toasted Tuscan bread.
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