Mortadella and Pistachio Veal Meatballs

After seeing a version of these Roman style meatballs on Bobby and Giada in Italy , featuring celebrity chefs Giada DeLaurentis and Bobby Flay, I knew I had to try to recreate these tender and flavorful meatballs at home. In this first episode of the series, Giada and Bobby visit a famous restaurant where the chef prepares veal meatballs with chunks of mortadella and ground pistachios. Although the show did not give an exact recipe, I had an idea of what would make these meatballs work and gave it a try myself. Instead of the sauce prepared on the show, I thought this would pair perfectly with a whipped ricotta, flavored with fresh herbs, pistachio and lemon zest. The result were these incredibly delicate, delicious meatballs that the whole family enjoyed. I hope you try these and enjoy them as we did!

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Mortadella and Pistachio Veal Meatballs

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print



  • 1 lb ground veal
  • 1/3 cup ground pistachio
  • 1/2 lb diced mortadella
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Olive Oil for pan frying

Herb Ricotta Crema

  • 1 cup well drained ricotta cheese
  • 5 leaves basil
  • 2-3 sprigs parsley
  • lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup ground pistachio


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan, begin to heat olive oil on a medium- low heat.
  2. In a food processor, add just shy of 1 cup of pistachios and blitz the nuts in order to create the ground pistachios. Separate into thirds.
  3. In a large bowl, combine veal, mortadella, 1/3 cup of ground pistachio, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, milk, egg, salt and pepper. With clean hands, combine and roll meatballs, about 2 inches in diameter.
  4. Check to make sure oil is heated through, and begin to sear meatballs in the olive oil, being careful not to crowd the pan (work in batches when necessary). Sear the meatballs on each side until browned, about 3-4 minutes per side.
  5. Transfer meatballs to baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  6. To make the whipped ricotta, use a blender or food processer to whip ricotta and herbs into a smooth consistency – about 2-3 minutes. Add in pistachio and lemon zest and fold together until well combined.
  7. Spread the whipped ricotta on a serving platter and place warm meatballs on top. Garnish with lemon zest and ground pistachio and any fresh herbs you would like. Enjoy immediately.

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