Italian sausage polpettina & macaroni bake

Italian sausage polpettina & macaroni bake

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(15 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 1 hr, 20 mins


Serves 8

This big dish is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser – you can never make too much of this kind of food

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable


  • kcal881
  • fat47g
  • saturates16g
  • carbs77g
  • sugars13g
  • fibre4g
  • protein40g
  • salt1.75g
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  • 150ml olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 2 large onions, finely diced



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 100g fresh breadcrumb
  • 50ml milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a 'complete' food…

  • 500g quality beef mince



    The classic choice of meat for a British Sunday roast. Beef is full of flavour, as…

  • 500g Italian sausage (about 8), meat squeezed from the skins
  • good handful chopped parsley



    One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…

  • 200ml red wine
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes



    A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…

  • 500g pack macaroni

For the white sauce

  • 50g butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 50g plain flour
  • 600ml milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a 'complete' food…

  • 100g grated tasty cheese, such as mature cheddar or gruyère


  1. Make the white sauce. Melt the butter in a medium pan, then stir in the flour. Keeping the heat high, whisk in the milk and bring to the boil, whisking until smooth and thickened. Season with a good pinch of salt and some pepper, then stir in most of the grated cheese and set aside, with the surface covered with cling film to stop if forming a skin.

  2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based casserole or frying pan, then add the onions and garlic and a real good grind of black pepper and salt. Cook slowly and gently until the onions are soft but not coloured. Take half the mix out and mix with the breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl. Using a slotted spoon, lift the rest of the onions out of the pan, leaving the oil behind, and set aside.

  3. Mix the mince and sausagemeat, chopped parsley and lots of salt and pepper into the breadcrumbs. Mix really well with your hands until the whole thing becomes pasty rather than lumpy. Shape into the size of ping-pong balls, then heat the pan again and brown the Simply serve with a fresh green salad balls in batches in the leftover onion oil. Remove the final batch, then return the reserved onions to the pan with the wine. Bubble over a high heat, scraping the bottom of the pan, then stir in the tomatoes and meatballs. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 mins. Can be made up to 2 days ahead or frozen.

  4. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and boil the macaroni according to pack instructions. Drain well, then mix with the meatball sauce. Tip into the largest ovenproof dish you have. Top with the white sauce (warm it a bit if it is slightly solid), then scatter with the remaining cheese. Bake for 35-40 mins until bubbling and golden.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Jools McDuff
15th Feb, 2019
Can you at least give these "italian" recipes correct italian names? Polpettina is singular, polpettinE plural. Macaroni should be maccheroni. Or don't get offended next time you read egjs and beckon abroad! :)
23rd Jan, 2019
This was a lovely dish but would tweak a little as I didn't find it very flavoursome. I didn't add the breadcrumbs to the meatballs and they worked exceptionally well without but would definitely add oregano or basil for flavour and perhaps use passata for a richer tomato flavour as well as a tin of tomatoes. Would work well with a bit of chilli and proper butchers italian sausages (impossible to find in Tesco's!).
10th Oct, 2013
I just love this recipe but I make the meat balls and just put them in then oven on a baking tray. My teenage boys love me to make it when they have their friends over- and it all gets eaten up then.
14th May, 2013
Was such a faff to make. The meatballs were delicious, and I will make those again, but just use a tomato sauce and serve with spaghetti. But I won't make this dish again.
22nd Jun, 2011
Not really a dinner party dish, I felt as though the componants didnt gel. The recipe didnt stipulate depth of dish as I used a large dish and the sauce didnt cover enough. I would use a cheese topping with egg so that its more spongy and deeper. The meat balls were easy and I made this dish quiet speedily. The children loved it and in particular the baby!!! Cant see me making this again really I would chop up a pack of quality sauages and mix with tom sauce.
thecherub's picture
23rd May, 2011
I loved this. Was a bit fiddly to make and took quite a while but I was happy to spend a sunday doing this. The result is definately worth it. Didnt add extra herbs, cayenne pepper or chilli flakes but might do that next time just for a change - nothing wrong with it as it is though. The meatballs were beautiful!
23rd Sep, 2010
I am the odd one out. Really felt it was a waste of my lovely butchers italian sausages! Not good at all. better off witht he sausage and fennel recipes.
21st Apr, 2010
This was a real fantastic dish and we had some leftover from dinner so warmed it up for lunch the next day and the taste was even better. Well done John
3rd Nov, 2009
Fantastic recipe for families. I made this for friends visiting from France and the children really enjoyed it.
joolsie2008's picture
29th Sep, 2009
This recipe is amazing the meatballs are so soft and tasty a winner every time I make it. I did add another tin of tomatoes last time I made it as it did not really have a lot of sauce and I prefer it with a bit more!


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