My relatives say that in Sicily even dogs eat pasta every day. And they do.
This is one of those dishes that doubles up as a first course and second course – use the sauce to dress the pasta (first course) and then slice the polpettone and eat it as the second course. Simple!
This meatloaf has the same stuffing in the centre, as one would do when making a farsumagru (a large, thinly pounded steak of young beef, rolled around a stuffing, and very Sicilian).
Most Sicilians cannot contemplate a main meal that does not begin with un primo – a first course. Whether eating at home or in a restaurant, Sicilians always start with some form of pasta. It is often the principal and obligatory highlight of the meal. Sometimes Sicilians may consider a soup (minestra or brodo) or a risotto as an alternative, but generally soup is more common in the evenings – and even this is likely to contain pasta.
In the north of Italy, a primo is just as important, but the selection of primi will also include more soups, risotti (for those who do not know, this is the plural of risotto), gnocchi (not only those made with potato) and polenta.
The peas are optional and they can be added about 20minutes before the dish is cooked. Pasta shape of your choice – I like rigatoni for this dish.
For a different photo of Polpettone see: POLPETTONE (in Sicilian purpittuni – a meat loaf on platter by Giacomo Alessi of Caltagirone)