These vegetarian ''meatballs'' are inspired by a wonderful recipe from Italian food writer Ursula Ferrigno.
Her original uses aubergines, but I really like this fresh-tasting zucchini version. You can easily double the quantities but you'll probably need to cook the zucchini in batches.
Freezer-friendly: freeze the uncooked polpette. Defrost before baking.
For babies: these make nice finger food and will introduce your baby to lots of different flavours.
For grown-ups and older children: try adding a few toasted pine nuts to the mix.
- 2 tbsp canola or olive oil
- 500g zucchini, finely diced
- grated zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 generous tbsp grated parmesan, pecorino or other well-flavoured hard cheese
- 1/2 ball of buffalo mozzarella (60-70g), diced
- 50g breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- freshly ground black pepper and sea salt (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200C. Oil a baking tray or line with a non-stick silicone liner.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and fry the zucchini for about 10 minutes, until tender and golden. Set aside to cool a little, then combine them with all the other ingredients to make a thick, sticky mixture. Season if you like (remember that the cheeses already contain salt).
Take walnut-sized blobs of the mixture and roll into balls. Place on the baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, until golden.
Serve hot, warm or cold, on their own or with pita bread and a tomato salad or sauce.
Makes about 12.