These big pork meatballs are wrapped in prosciutto, browned and simmered in tomato sauce, then served on top of polenta.

pork meatballs in bowl with polenta

When it comes to classic comfort food, it’s hard to beat meatballs and polenta! These Pork Prosciutto Meatballs and Polenta are faithful to the classic, with the addition of wrapping the large meatballs in prosciutto, for an extra layer of flavour.

Beyond the prosciutto, this is a dish that rewards starting with great ingredients and the patience to allow the meatballs to brown well and then simmer long enough to marry all the flavours.

Add a glass of your favourite red wine and you are all set for a special meal.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Pork – these pork meatballs start with ground pork.

Tomatoes – A great can of tomatoes to start (San Marzano maybe), will be rewarded with a great tomato sauce. Fire-roasted canned tomatoes are also nice here.

Herbs – This is one of those recipes that will benefit greatly from great ingredients. Fresh herbs are great here, if you can. Fresh basil especially, works well in the meatballs, sauce and for garnish. If you don’t have fresh, use a bit less of dried herbs.


Parmesan – a good Parmesan that you grate yourself will give the best flavour. note that there is Parmesan in the meatballs, the polenta and for garnish. You’ll want a good piece around to start.

Polenta – Do note that the Polenta referred to in the recipe is the dried grain Polenta. Use long-cooking and not “instant” or “quick cooking”. You don’t want to use the Polenta in that tube, as it is cooked already and won’t work with these instructions. (Though if that’s all you have, you could slice, fry and serve the meatballs on top instead.)

Cook’s Notes

Be sure to taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Obviously, you can’t taste the raw pork mixture, but you’ll want to add salt and pepper. While the prosciutto adds a bit of saltiness to the meatball as it cooks, it’s a big meatball so additional salting is probably in order.

These are really big meatballs! An instant read thermometer is handy to ensure they are cooked through. You’ll want them to be 160F in the middle, at least. If you don’t have a thermometer, err on the side of simmering longer, rather than rushing them. A longer simmer won’t hurt them and you can be sure they are cooked.

I put two meatballs per bowl for photographic purposes. One big meatball in the bowl just looked kind of goofy through the viewfinder :) Trust me though that one meatball with the polenta per person is sufficient for most appetites.

Making Ahead

You can make the sauce and meatballs and simmer them off ahead. Refrigerate the meatballs in the sauce, then simply re-heat while you make the polenta, to serve.

Pork Prosciutto Meatballs and Polenta

Time Saving Tip!

Skip a step by starting with a good, store-bought marinara sauce instead of making your own. Just be sure to buy enough – 30 oz. or 885ml – ish – so that your meatballs have enough sauce to simmer in.

pork meatballs in bowl with polenta

Get the Recipe: Pork Prosciutto Meatballs and Polenta

Big pork meatballs, wrapped in prosciutto browned then simmered in marinara sauce. Serve on top of polenta.
5 stars from 10 ratings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: 4 servings


Marinara Sauce:

  • 28 oz canned tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 - 2 Tablespoons mixed fresh herbs, finely chopped, such as thyme, oregano and basil, plus extra to serve
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup long-cooking, dried polenta, not instant or tubed
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, freshly grated plus extra to serve
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, diced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs, or about 1/3 cup dried
  • 1/2 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons mixed fresh herbs, such as thyme, basil and oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 prosciutto slices
  • 1 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, for cooking/browning meatballs


  • Make the Marinara Sauce: Blend together the canned tomatoes, onion, garlic and herbs in a blender until smooth, or alternately in a large bowl with an immersion blender. Pour the mixture into a large saucepan. Add wine and olive oil, season to taste with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer while you make the meatballs.
  • For meatballs: Add all the meatball ingredients except the prosciutto and olive oil to a large bowl. Stir together until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into quarters. Take one quarter and roll into a ball, then wrap with a slice of prosciutto. Repeat with the other quarters. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and brown well all over (3-5 minutes). Transfer the meatballs to the simmering sauce. Half cover the saucepan with a lid and simmer until meatballs are just cooked through, about 12-15 minutes. *If you have an instant-read thermometer, test the meatballs for done-ness by inserting in centre and ensuring that it is at least 160F.
  • When meatballs are almost cooked, bring milk and water to the boil in a large saucepan. Gradually pour in polenta, whisking continuously, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, whisking regularly, until smooth and thickened. (about 20 minutes for long-cooking polenta or 5 minutes for instant polenta) Remove from heat. Add parmesan and butter and season generously with salt and pepper. Whisk well to combine. Serve polenta topped with meatballs and sauce, garnished with extra parmesan and fresh chopped herbs.


Be sure to read the notes above this Recipe Card, for more tips, options, substitutions and variations for this recipe!
Cuisine: Italian
Course: Main Course
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 742kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 40g, Fat: 48g, Saturated Fat: 17g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 23g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 156mg, Sodium: 946mg, Potassium: 1253mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 16g, Vitamin A: 1115IU, Vitamin C: 25mg, Calcium: 561mg, Iron: 5mg
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