Ricotta Meatballs

BAKE: 22 MINS TO 25 MINS 350°F





1 large yellow onion, finely chopped (1 cup)

1/4 cup minced garlic (about 2 heads)

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 1/2 pounds 80% lean ground beef

1 cup grated Grana Padano cheese (2 ounces)

1 15 ounce carton whole milk ricotta cheese

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce

Shaved Grana Padano cheese (optional)

Cooked pasta or hoagie rolls, for serving (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large skillet cook onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil for 8 minutes or until tender. Cool.
  2. In a large bowl combine eggs, onion mixture, ground beef, 1 cup Grana Padano, the ricotta cheese, panko, parsley, basil, salt, and pepper. Mix to form a uniform mass and shape the mixture into 2-inch balls. Test one meatball before starting the next process. If the ricotta is too watery, add more breadcrumbs or ground beef. If it is too dry, add more ricotta.
  3. Place meatballs on two parchment-lined 15x10x1-inch baking pans. Brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until 165 degrees F.
  4. In a very large skillet bring the marinara sauce to boiling. Add half of the meatballs to the skillet and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes or until a nice saucy consistency. Garnish with Grana Padano, if desired, and serve over cooked pasta or on a hoagie roll to make these meatballs a meal.
From the Test Kitchen

Freeze leftover meatballs up to 1 month. When ready to use, in a very large skillet bring marinara sauce to a simmer. Add frozen meatballs; return to simmer. Cover; simmer 10 minutes or until heated through.

Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce

2 ounces pancetta, chopped (optional)

1/3 cup finely chopped onion (1 small)

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 pounds fresh roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (about 3 cups), or one 28-ounce can whole peeled roma tomatoes, drained and chopped

1/2 cup dry red wine

1 – 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 cup snipped fresh basil

  1. In a large saucepan cook pancetta (if using), onion, and garlic in hot oil over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until pancetta starts to brown and onion is tender, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in tomatoes, wine, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in basil.
From the Test Kitchen

Place sauce in an airtight container. Seal and chill in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Facts (Ricotta Meatballs)

Per serving: 71 kcal , 5 g fat (2 g sat. fat , 0 g polyunsaturated fat , 2 g monounsaturated fat ), 22 mg chol. , 59 mg sodium , 1 g carb. , 0 g fiber , 0 g sugar , 5 g pro.