Mini meatballs, mozzarella and jalapeno baguette

Polpetti, mozzarella and peppercino ficelle.
Polpetti, mozzarella and peppercino ficelle. Photo: Marina Oliphant

The idea of a simple meatball sandwich excites me – the ooziness of the mozzarella and the spiced, tomato-enriched meatball on a fresh ficelle, a rustic baguette, is heaven. Don't forget to add green chilli before devouring for a spike of heat.


3 large jalapeno chillis, seeds left in, sliced into 0.5cm rings

4 really fresh ficelle or baguettes

3 tbsp garlic aioli, store-bought is fine

About eight leftover polpetti, warmed and sliced in half

3 large fresh mozzarella balls, cow's or buffalo's milk

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the polpetti

80ml olive oil

1 brown onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

400g fine pork mince

5 Italian-style veal and pork sausages, skin removed, meat crumbled

2 eggs

2 tbsp dried oregano

1/2 lemon, zested

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

50g finely grated parmesan

1/4 bunch parsley, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely sliced

350ml chicken stock

1 litre tomato passata

1 tbsp sugar


For the polpetti

In a medium frying pan over medium heat, add 30 millilitres of oil, onion and garlic. Season and cook for five minutes until soft and golden, then tip into a bowl to cool. In a food processor, add the mince, sausage meat, eggs, one tablespoon oregano, lemon zest and black pepper and blend to a paste. Add breadcrumbs and whiz again to combine. Tip into a bowl, add parmesan and parsley and mix well. Roll into small balls about the diameter of a 20 cent piece. Place a large, heavy-based pot over medium heat, add 30 millilitres of oil and brown a batch of meatballs for three minutes on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside. Repeat process until all meatballs are cooked.

For the ficelle

Flash-fry chilli rings in two centimetres of olive oil for two minutes to soften slightly. Slice the ficelle or baguette open lengthways but don't cut right through. Place on a grilling tray, spread both sides with garlic aioli, add meatballs and sauce and top with a couple of slices of mozzarella. Put under a hot grill to melt the cheese. Remove, add chilli rings to taste, season, then close and serve.