Ricotta Polenta with Drunken Meatballs

May 25, 2021
4 Ratings
Photo by Anna Chwistek | Serving Dumplings
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Mouthwatering classic meatballs simmered in a hearty brown beer gravy with caramelized onions and served over creamy ricotta polenta. This 30-minute meal will knock your socks off.
I hope you love to indulge a few meatballs and some rich flavors to go with it. Here we add caramelized onions and simmer them with a dark beer until the pan sauce thickens.
We serve it over a delicious polenta swirled with ricotta. The ricotta cheese adds a creamy touch without a lot of fat, while the parmesan gives it depth and character. The ingredients are simple, the taste is huge. The whole dish comes together in about 30 minutes and will be a meal to remember. —Anna Chwistek | Serving Dumplings

What You'll Need
  • polenta
  • 200 grams (7 oz) instant polenta
  • 500 milliliters (2 cups) chicken broth
  • 500 milliliters (2 cups) whole milk
  • 200 grams (7 oz) whole milk ricotta
  • 80 grams (2.8 oz) grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • meatballs
  • 500 grams (17.6 oz) ground meat, 70% pork with 30% beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: salt, black pepper, sweet paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 250 milliliters (1 cup) brown beer
  • 250 milliliters (1 cup) chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon mild mustard
  • 1 teaspoon each: black pepper, dried oregano, dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • chopped chives, for serving
  1. Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. Mix until just combined, using your hands. Roll the meat into 2 tablespoon-size balls.
  2. In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the meatballs and brown on all sides, about 10-12 minutes or until they’re cooked through, turning them 2-3 times. Transfer to a plate.
  3. In the same skillet, add 1 tbsp oil and 2 tbsp butter. Cook onions for 5 minutes over low heat. Add garlic, cook for 2 minutes. Stir in black pepper, oregano, thyme and flour. Allow the flour to cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour the brown beer and chicken broth, then stir in the mustard. Bring the sauce to a boil. Slide the meatballs back and all of their released juices into the skillet. Add salt and pepper to your own taste. Simmer over low heat while you make the polenta.
  4. In a saucepan, bring chicken stock and milk to a boil. Slowly whisk in the polenta, stirring continuously, about 2-3 minutes, over low heat. Turn off the heat. Stir in ricotta, parmesan, salt and black pepper. Add butter and stir to combine. Cover and let stand for 1 minute. If the polenta thickens too much, thin with some additional milk or chicken stock. Add more salt and pepper, if needed.
  5. Divide polenta over bowls, top with meatballs and gravy. Serve with chopped chives, a salad or roasted broccoli. Enjoy!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • OPTOMontheEdge
  • Andrea Cicero Zenner
    Andrea Cicero Zenner
  • Anna Chwistek | Serving Dumplings
    Anna Chwistek | Serving Dumplings
  • David White
    David White

5 Reviews

OPTOMontheEdge January 21, 2023
This was a fabulous recipe. The polenta was delicious and full of flavor all on its own, as were the meatballs, and the drunken gravy. Super delicious, and was declared "restaurant worthy" by the family. It did take me nearly 2 hours to make TBH (I'm a slow chopper, but also cooking down onions takes me 3x whatever the recipe says). I'll try this again on a weeknight using Trader Joe's frozen small meatballs to save some time. Can't wait to taste this again!
David W. March 29, 2022
I made this for my family tonight and this recipe is definitely a keeper. I am not sure what 'brown beer' is but I used a coffee porter which gave a nice bitter edge.
Thanks so much for this one!
Andrea C. March 27, 2022
Made this for the first time tonight. Absolutely delicious! Lots of mis en place but it comes together quickly once that's all set. A keeper!
guaddog March 26, 2021
Well, this was just phenomenal! I followed everything straight up, except I didn't have thyme. It says cooking time is 20 mins, but I let it simmer on low for about and hour. And the next day was even better!! Made it for ST. Patricks last week and making again this week. That good! Thank you, this is a keeper.
Anna C. March 27, 2021
Thanks so much for making this recipe, I am delighted that it was enjoyed!