Polpettone With Spinach and Provolone Recipe (2024)

By David Tanis

Polpettone With Spinach and Provolone Recipe (1)

Total Time
1 hour 30 minutes
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Polpette are Italian meatballs; polpettine are meatballs, too, but more diminutive. It follows, then, that polpettone is Italian for meatloaf (or a substantial meatball large enough to share). But polpettone is much more interesting than the somewhat bland everyday meatloaf known in the United States. Made from a mixture of meats and stuffed with spinach, herbs, cheese and mortadella, this moist, savory version is almost like a pâté or terrine, but easier to execute. It is delectable hot or cold.

Learn how to assemble the polpettone with this step-by-step tutorial.

You can find more of our meatloaf recipes here.

Featured in: Meatloaf That Conquers the Mundane

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Yield:8 to 10 servings

  • 1cup cubed day-old bread, crusts removed
  • 1cup heavy cream
  • 1pound ground beef
  • 1pound ground pork
  • 1pound ground veal or turkey
  • 1tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • ¼teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1teaspoon chopped rosemary
  • 1teaspoon chopped thyme
  • 2teaspoons chopped sage
  • 1tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 3ounces grated Parmesan, about ½ cup
  • 2eggs, lightly beaten, plus 3 (8-minute) hard-boiled eggs, peeled, for filling
  • ¼pound thinly sliced mortadella or prosciutto
  • 1pound spinach, briefly blanched, roughly chopped and squeezed dry
  • 3ounces provolone or caciocavallo, sliced ⅛-inch thick
  • 1cup fine dry bread crumbs, preferably homemade

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (10 servings)

583 calories; 43 grams fat; 19 grams saturated fat; 1 gram trans fat; 17 grams monounsaturated fat; 3 grams polyunsaturated fat; 13 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 2 grams sugars; 36 grams protein; 599 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Polpettone With Spinach and Provolone Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Put bread cubes in a small bowl, cover with cream and set aside to soak until softened, about 10 minutes.

  2. Step


    Put beef, pork and veal in a mixing bowl. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne, nutmeg, rosemary, thyme, sage and parsley. Add Parmesan and, using hands, knead seasoning into meat. Combine soaked bread (and any remaining cream) with beaten eggs, then pour mixture over seasoned meat and knead until well combined.

  3. Step


    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-by-18-inch baking sheet with parchment or foil. Press ground meat mixture evenly over parchment to make a flat rectangle slightly smaller than the baking sheet. Top with slices of mortadella. Scatter cooked spinach evenly over mortadella. Break provolone slices into rough pieces and distribute over surface. Finish with hard-cooked egg chopped into chunks.

  4. Step


    Using parchment to help, roll the meat into a long cylinder with filling on the inside. With the long side facing you, first lift parchment and use it to roll meat to the center, pressing down to keep it in place. Then lift parchment on the opposite long side, bringing meat just past the center to overlap itself slightly. Pinch the “seam” of the meat together to keep filling in place. Sprinkle with half the dry crumbs. You will now have a cylinder approximately 15 inches long. Twist ends of parchment to firm the mixture, then transfer to a deep-sided baking dish or roasting pan, and place it seam-side down. Carefully remove and discard parchment. With hands, press firmly to form cylinder into a long loaf with rounded ends. Dust top and sides with remaining bread crumbs. (The polpettone may be prepared to this point several hours, or up to 24 hours, in advance; keep refrigerated and bring to room temperature before baking.)

  5. Step


    Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until internal temperature is 140 degrees. Let rest for 10 minutes and cut into 1-inch-thick slices and serve. (Alternatively, cool to room temperature and refrigerate for up to 3 days. If serving cold, cut thinner slices.)



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Easy & impressive-looking, and delicious. Agree it's a great rustic party dish, and leftovers are great. I formed it the night before I baked it & just did the bread crumbs at the last minute so they wouldn't get soggy. It's definitely a rich dish but I wouldn't substitute milk for the cream; it gives the meat a wonderful texture.


This is so good -- and freezes so well -- that I have decided to make it again. This time, for the filling, I'm using broccoli rabe and mushrooms sauteed with garlic, mixed with cubes of roasted kabocha squash. One change I'd make to the original recipe? Slice the mortadella/prosciutto into strips, rather than using whole slices. The loaf will then slice more easily and neatly, and will be easier to eat, without a big ole' piece of mortadella dangling off your fork.

Philippe Barré

Used pecorino instead of provolone: interesting texture! Great dish to start the new year with friends.


This was delicious and so pretty! Made sure to have all ingredients ready. Certainly, I held my breath during the rolling, but that went well with the help of my plastic bread scraper to nudge it over. I was able to use all the filling. Using flavorful cheese & mortadella is key. I amped up the herbs too. Thanks!

Deborah Payne

This was delicious and really quite easy to put together. The breadcrumb coating was a crispy, crunchy textural treat to the soft meat and surprise filling. A good rustic party dish.


I have to admit, I changed up the filling here -- not a fan of spinach, I used the eggplant-and-tomato filling from Mark Bittman's recipe for polpettone, also on this site -- but the "shell," the meat surrounding the filling, was all according to this recipe, and boy howdy is it good. Easily the tastiest meatloaf I've ever made or eaten. And rolling it was much less difficult than I had expected, even though I had no help. Will def be making this again, playing with fillings.


This is a great recipe, but there is an error in the ingredient list, as posted.It asks for 3 ounces of Parmesan cheese and also refers to this quantity as "about 1/2 cup". 3 ounces of Parmesan cheese is certainly NOT 1/2 cup (it is more like 1 1/4 cup), so if you are going to weigh the cheese, as I did, you will end up incorporating way too much cheese in your ingredients. Disregard the weight of the Parmesan cheese on the list and simply just go with 1/2 cup.


There is too much filling making it difficult to roll. The final loaf was not pretty although it was tasty.


Believe it or not... I made a vegetarian (not vegan) version of this and it was fantastic! Substituted Lightlife ground beef, Gardein Sweet and Sour Porkless Bites (without the sauce), and Gardein Turk'y Cutlets chopped up for the meats. For the mortadella/prosciutto, I used diced Sweet Earth Benevolent Bacon. Since all these products are already cooked, I set the temp at 375 and it was out of the oven in about 25 minutes (broiled the top for a couple minutes. Will definitely make this again!

Susan L

Also use less salt, other than that very tasty

Kathryn P

We were underwhelmed. Not a lot of flavor. The cream gave the meat a strange consistency. To be fair, I usually make an Italian style meatloaf loaded with garlic and herbs so expectations may have been at play. Looked great and the process was easier than anticipated.


Serve w cherry tomatoes & cuke “relish” (z Greek salad base)


Sauté spinach w garlic

mmb, Dublin, OH

I've had this recipe in my file since 2015 and I finally decided to try it! It was fabulous! I used less spinach 10 oz., and prosciutto di Parma, large grated the provolone cheese, added 1 cup toasted pine nuts to the recipe before rolling the loaf. Very good recipe!


I'm curious about the recommendation to cook to 140 degrees. If using turkey (which I plan to do) wouldn't it be wise to follow published food safety guidelines and cook to 165F? Or am I missing something?


I’ve made this twice & I’ll sorta make it again. But the work & ensuring you have the ingredients for the filling seems too great for the payoff. I used turkey instead of veal, & a lot more parsley, but leave out the fillings, follow the directions, and it’s a delicious meatloaf.

Amanda C.

Excellent recipe and delicious results! I didn’t have veal or turkey, so I used 2 lbs ground beef & 1 lb ground pork - it came out great. This is a great meal for a crowd, is so tasty and looks very impressive.


Awesome! Served with hot pickled beets and mozzarella salad. It did indeed take longer to cook than stated. The reviewer who suggested flat meat, stuffing on top, the meat on top was right on.


Substituted bacon. Enough calories to feed a small country but OMG so good.


A nice change from traditional meatloaf. Makes for a hearty (and heavy) meal.


The best "meatloaf" ever! And not hard at all to put together; just 15 minutes of wilting (chard leaves) and boiling (egg, in chard leaf water) and stirring up (everything else, with dried herbs because spring in far north means nothing fresh). Used extra sharp cheddar instead of provolone because that's what I had. Absolutely delicious and, yes, company-worthy.


Substitute equal amount of almond flour for the bread crumbs to make a GF version.


Made this and it was yummy even better the next day on toasted sourdough with marinara and melted provolone. Changes: made w 1/2 lb ea chicken and lamb. 1 lb pork. It’s what I had. Folding was easy. I wet my hands, used parchment, and watched the video. Cooked about 50 min. Sat for 10. Filled with shredded Italian mix cheese and chopped pancetta. Again, it’s what I had. I’d make again for sure.

Aline Daufresne

Scrumptious! We let it reach 160° though, and it was perfectly moist and tender. I used gluten free white bread for the filling and almond powder as per one of the notes suggestions (Thank you!) for the crust, being intolerant to gluten. Cheddar is low in lactose and can be used for the filling for lactose intolerant people.

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Polpettone With Spinach and Provolone Recipe (2024)


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