Posted by: Erica Retrochef | January 12, 2015

i Polpettoni Saporiti

Ettore Boiardi emigrated to America and helped popularize Italian cuisine.


2 lbs. ground chuck
1/2 cup minced onions
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 egg sligtly beaten
1 (15 1/2-oz.) can Chef Boy-Ar-Dee Spaghetti Sauce with Mushrooms
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1/3 cup minced green pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix first five ingredients together. Add 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce. On waxed paper, press mixture into 12″ x 7″ rectangle. Cut crosswise into 6 strips. Mix rice, green pepper, 1/4 cup sauce. Divide rice into 6 parts; put in center of strips. Fold meat over rice, shaping each into a loaf. Put on baking sheet. Spoon 1/2 cup sauce over loaves. Bake 25 minutes. Spoon remaining sauce over loaves. Bake 10 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

So what is this polpettoni saporiti? I can’t recall seeing it on the menu in Italian restaurants. Let’s ask Google Translate!


… Alrighty then.

(More accurately, it’s tasty little meatloaves, just like the ad copy says. Next time I’ll just read the ad.)


Chef Boyardee doesn’t make spaghetti sauce with mushrooms anymore (although, I was surprised to discover, they do still make spaghetti sauce with meat). Considering sauce was what Ettore Boiardi started his business with, this recipe feels decidedly nostalgic.


Mixing meatloaf ingredients is a very standard process. Patting it out into a flat rectangle… that’s new.


I also can’t recall rice with most meatloaves. In fact, the last time I combined rice in ground beef was Porcupine Meat Balls. (We made sure the rice was thoroughly cooked this time.)


And the jelly roll technique, again, not meatloaf-like.


But once all the cute little sections are in the baking dish with a nice splash of sauce on top, it’s a lot more familiar and reassuring.


It’s actually nice to put in that little bit of extra work of forming “little meatloaves.” These are much simpler to serve (straight from baking dish to plate) and the presentation is cuter. The meatloaf itself was moist and tasty, and mushrooms, rice, and green pepper were good ingredients to include. This really feels like the sort of thing Boiardi wanted to accomplish — at least more so than canned ravioli.

Advertisement found on Flickr, posted by Jamie.


  1. I seem to recall eating meatloaf with a rice filling a few times in my childhood–this was probably the time that there were rice-filled french fries being sold in stores. Yes, that was a thing that happened in the early 80s, and no, I do not know why someone would think those would sell.

    “Let’s put one starch inside another! It’ll sell like rice hotcakes!”
    “Good enough for me! I’m sold!”

    Lesson: rice in meatloaf=good, rice in frozen fries=bad.

    • Rice and potatoes? That’s… incredibly silly.

      • When we lived in Glasgow UK for awhile, the going thing for some shops was to offer to put chips into your baked potatoes… people can really love their starches…

  2. This recipe looks shockingly good. I can’t help but wonder what the intrepid retro chef did with the rest of their oregano? Probably the same thing I did with the rest of my harissa (looked at it with annoyance for two years before throwing it out).

    • We actually use a fair amount of oregano when we’re not retro cheffing (chefing? hmm) for pizza and so on — but I imagine anybody back in the day had very little use for it!

      • Back then unused Oregano lived in the cupboard for YEARS

  3. Oh, those are adorable! Like little cabbage rolls, with MUCH less work.

  4. That looks really tasty! I make my meatloaf the way my mom always did, and we put a small handful of rice in our meat mixture.

  5. This seems a lot like a species of rouladen, but using ground meat for budget reasons (in the context of when the recipe was published), convenience, or just to make it seem more meatloafy. In that respect the rice makes more sense.

  6. What year was this recipe published? By the 60’s, I think Italian cookery was already pretty much ‘popular’, wasn’t it? Certainly there was plenty of pizza. My (definitely non-Italian) mother made great spaghetti and meatballs for as long as I can remember and it was never seen as foreign or exotic. (Though I imagine for some people somewhere, it was. I remember seeing a recipe in the food section of the newspaper for EYE-talian Spaghetti 😀 , explaining what oh-ree-gah-no was.)

    • This was 1967, so less exotic than it was in, say, 1950. I think acceptance varied a lot, though. My uncle has a funny story of when he went to college and had to cook for himself and learned for the first time that spaghetti wasn’t naturally red — when they ate it growing up (40’s and 50’s), the sauce was always added in the pot before being served. So clearly spaghetti was a staple for their Irish-German family….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: