Meatballs are a classic comfort food, and very versatile. Too often meatballs come out dry & tough. Y’all know I go on and on about turkey meatballs because I find them so much lighter than meatballs made with just ground beef. My family absolutely loves turkey meatballs, but others may not. While in Italy, I noticed that several menu’s had ricotta meatballs so I tried making my own, and they are not only delicious, but very light.
You will need:
2 tbsp olive oil
8 garlic cloves,minced
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup bread crumbs (I make my own out of stale Italian bread)
1 cup grated pecorino
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped basil
2 large beaten eggs
1 1l2 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees with rack positioned in the top 1/3 of the oven, about 8 inches under the broiler, if you have a convection bake option, choose that. Line a large baking sheet with foil for easy clean up as desired. Spray the prepared baking sheet generously with nonstick cooking spray.
Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot & shimmering, add in the onion. Season with a pinch of salt & ground black pepper as desired. Stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened & fragrant, 5-6 minutes. Add in the garlic & cook 1-2 minutes longer, until fragrant. Transfer softened onion & garlic to a bowl & set aside. Remove the skillet from the heat.
Meanwhile, as the onion & garlic cook, soak the breadcrumbs. Add the ricotta & panko breadcrumbs in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine well. Set aside to soak for 10 minute.
To the large mixing bowl with the soaked breadcrumb mixture, add the softened onion & garlic,eggs, grated parmesan, chopped fresh parsley, chopped fresh basil, & crushed red pepper flakes (if using) to a large mixing bowl. Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt & ground black pepper, as desired. Use your hands to mix well. Once the breadcrumb mixture is combined, add in the ground pork & ground beef. Using your hands, mix just until combined – take care to avoid over-mixing.
Gently form the mixture into meatballs about the size of a golf ball, rolling just until smooth – take care to avoid pressing the meatballs together too compactly. The mixture will yield 16-18 meatballs. Arrange the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet.
Transfer the meatballs to the oven & bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn on the oven’s broiler & broil for an additional 5-8 minutes, until a golden brown crust forms on the meatballs. Check them every so often as they broil, rotating the sheet pan as needed to broil evenly.
Remove from oven and add to tomato sauce. It can be a quick weeknight sauce, Sunday sauce or even ( gulp) jarred but ONLY use Rao’s! Simmer for atleast 30 minutes.