Toasted hazelnut, watercress and ricotta polpette

Posted On January 23, 2020 By Kathryn

These vegetarian polpette can be made with chickpeas or cannelini beans, and a super easy to throw together. The toasted hazelnuts not only give a beautiful flavour, but texture and substance too. Since I first made these, they have become a regular in my house – everyone is addicted to them!


If you like this recipe you may like the Linguine with roasted cherry tomatoes, pistachio and basil pesto or this easy Aubergine Parmigiana recipe.

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Serves 4

100g blanched hazelnuts

1 400g tin of chickpeas or canellini beans, drained and rinsed

50g watercress, finely chopped

3 sprigs of oregano, leaves picked and finely chopped

finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon

40g parmesan cheese, finely grated, plus extra for garnish

50g ricotta cheese

salt and pepper to season

olive oil

basil leaves to garnish

Tomato Sauce


Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced

2 sprigs of thyme

2 tins of chopped tomatoes

100ml red wine

salt and pepper to season


  1. Start by making the tomato sauce so that it is ready for when you need it. Fry the garlic in the olive oil until it is just beginning to brown. Add the thyme, tomatoes and red wine. Simmer on a high heat for about 20 minutes, until slightly reduced and thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep on a low heat until needed.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200’C. To make the polpette, start by toasting the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan until nicely browned. Transfer to a food processor and blitz until they are roughly chopped. Add the chickpeas or canellini beans, watercress, oregano, lemon zest, parmesan and ricotta. Pulse together a few times only - you want the mixture to retain some nice texture. Roll into 16 balls. This step can be done in advance and the polpette can be refrigerated.
  3. Turn your grill onto high. Place a large frying pan (non stick if you have it) on a medium heat and add a splash of olive oil. Fry the polpette in two batches, until lightly browned - this only takes a few minutes. Pour the tomato sauce into a heatproof baking dish and place the polpette on top. Grate parmesan cheese all over, drizzle with olive oil, and grill until the cheese is melted, the polpette are crispy and the sauce is bubbling. Serve garnished with fresh basil.