Polpette Di Crosta Di Parmigiano


Meatballs? Nope. Parmesan-crust balls? YUP!



Parmesan crust meatballs – Need I say more? This recipe is kicking off my latest series on how people from around the world turn food scraps into delectable dishes. And I can’t think of a better place to start than with this recipe. If Polpette Di Crosta Di Parmigiano doesn’t make you a believer in zero-waste cooking, then I don’t know what will.

Polpette Di Crosta Di Parmigiano is an Italian dish that literally translates to “Parmesan crust balls.” They’re essentially a meatball made from leftover Parmesan rinds, rather than the traditional ground meat. These meatless meatballs were shown to me by Veronica, who currently lives in Rome, Italy. As she points out, recipes like this help demonstrate that Italian food is so much more than pizza and pasta. In fact, it’s historically been a cuisine that knows how to creatively turn scraps into something delicious. Case in point? Polpette Di Crosta Di Parmigiano.

The central piece of this dish is Parmesan rinds. This tough crust is often thrown away, although Italians have been using it to flavor broths, stocks, and sauces for years. However, this certainly takes it to the next level. To turn the rind into a usable ingredient, you’ll actually need to boil it in chicken broth. Not only does this impart some incredible flavor into the broth, but it makes the rind perfectly soft. The rinds are then added to a food processor along with some breadcrumbs, flour, egg, and herbs like rosemary. You’ll want to keep blending until the ingredients take on a dough-like consistency that you’ll be able to turn into meatballs.

The newly formed meatballs are then returned to boil in the chicken broth before they’re finally simmered in a layer of marinara sauce. Veronica recommends serving the Polpette Di Crosta Di Parmigiano like you would traditional meatballs with plenty of sauce, fresh basil, and some crusty bread to sop up every last bite. However, you can also add some vegetables, pasta, or both if you’d like.

Polpette Di Crosta Di Parmigiano is a recipe that feels like magic. With just one overlooked and often tossed ingredient, you’re able to create a whole meal. And not just any meal, Polpette Di Crosta Di Parmigiano is a savory and satisfying dish that’s bursting with cheesy comfort.

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Polpette Di Crosta Di Parmigiano


  • 3 leftover parmigiano crusts
  • 4 cups broth chicken, veggie, whatever you have on hand!
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup flour
  • pinch salt
  • fresh herbs (like oregano, thyme or rosemary) dried would work too in a pinch
  • pomodoro tomato sauce
  • fresh basil chopped
  • olive oil
  • bread for serving


  • Wash the outside of the parmigiano crusts carefully.
  • Boil the crusts in 2 cups broth (or hot water), 10 minutes should be enough.
  • In a food processor, blend the crusts while still hot. Add the egg white, breadcrumbs, salt, flour, and herbs. You may need more or less of these ingredients depending on the amount of your blended crust, the important thing is to make a dough with which you can shape the balls.
  • Shape the balls and boil them in remaining broth or hot water (7-10 minutes).
  • Remove balls from liquid and add to a pan with tomato sauce. Cook for another 5 minutes or so.
  • Serve warm with a drizzle of olive oil, basil, and bread on the side!
Course: Dinner
Region: Europe


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While it may look simple, this dish is nothing like you’ve ever experienced