Make Ahead

Ricotta Meatballs

August 24, 2014
4 Ratings
  • Serves 5
Author Notes

Poaching the meatballs in the sauce imparts a wonderful depth of flavour to this comforting dish. —zahlicious

What You'll Need
  • For the meatballs
  • 2 cups ground pork, ground veal or sausage meat (I like a mix of pork and veal or veal and sausage)
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon toasted fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • 4 tablespoons minced parsley
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • olive oil
  • For the sauce and cooking
  • 1 28 oz can tomatoes
  • 2 onions, diced fine
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup basil, torn
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced, for garnish
  • parmesan, grated, for garnish
  1. For the meatballs
  2. Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook gently until translucent and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat. Add the milk, breadcrumbs and fennel seeds. Stir well. Allow the breadcrumbs to absorb the milk.
  4. Make sure the mixture is highly seasoned. Chill 20 minutes in the fridge. This is the base for the meatballs.
  5. Add the meatball base, ground meat, ricotta, fennel seeds and parsley to a large mixing bowl. Crack in two eggs. Mix by hand until well combined. The mixture should be dough-like.
  6. Pinch off 2-3 ounce sized chunks of the meat mixture and roll into balls. Place balls on a plate or baking sheet and refrigerate until they set up, about 2 hours.
  1. For the sauce and cooking
  2. *This sauce needs to be loose because the meatballs are poached in it. During poaching the sauce will reduce and thicken. Just don’t reduce it too much before poaching begins.
  3. Sweat the onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Deglaze the pot with white wine. Simmer 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, thyme and water. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Cool slightly. Puree to smooth in a blender.
  4. Poach the meatballs in the sauce at medium-low heat until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Throw in some torn basil at the last minute and stir. Serve meatballs with pasta or bread. Garnish with grated parmesan and parsley.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Margaret Smith
    Margaret Smith
  • zahlicious
  • Bellamia2

4 Reviews

Margaret S. May 13, 2018

Great recipe. Tasted light and delicious.

One note: You mention thyme in the cooking instructions for the sauce, but they're not in the ingredients list. :)
zahlicious September 5, 2015
Hello angry people. Updated to include the onion amount, at 1/4 cup. Enjoy the recipe :)
Bellamia2 September 5, 2015
Bellamia2 October 19, 2014
how many onions do I need for the meat balls??? You say to cook until translucent but you don't say how many onions to cook!!! I hate recipes like this !!!! and there are a lot in this food 52 site!!! doesn't anyone proof these before adding then to your site?????