Friday, February 15, 2013

Ricotta Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

K has made various kinds of meatballs over the years, but apparently these Pork-and-Ricotta Meatballs in Tomato Sauce from Food & Wine were the easiest to make even though they took three hours. He tested the recipe as is a couple of nights ago, but made a few changes for his second batch. Obviously, the tweaks only made them better. By adding veal and beef to the mix, as well as the Pecorino Romano, the meatballs have more flavor. Also, you can't go wrong with using San Marzano tomatoes and adding butter to the sauce. For details, click on the link below.

Pork-and-Ricotta Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
Yields: 8

1/2 pound sliced white bread, crusts removed and bread cut into 1/2-inch dice (4 cups)
1-1/2 pounds lean ground pork, veal, and beef blend (available at supermarkets)
3 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, minced
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup ricotta cheese (5 ounces)
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Kosher salt
Two 28-ounce cans peeled Italian tomatoes, crushed, preferably San Marzano
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons shredded basil

1) Preheat the oven to 400°.

2) In a food processor, pulse the bread to coarse crumbs.

3) Transfer the crumbs to a large bowl and add the pork, veal, beef, pancetta, eggs, ricotta, Pecorino Romano cheese, parsley, oregano, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper and 1-1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt.

4) Mix well.

5) Shape into 24 meatballs, using about 3 rounded tablespoons of the mixture for each.

6) Transfer the meatballs to an oiled medium roasting pan.

7) Roast the meatballs in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until firm and just beginning to brown.

8) Using a spatula, loosen the meatballs from the bottom of the pan.

9) Add the crushed tomatoes and melted butter to the pan and season with salt and pepper.

10) Lower the oven temperature to 325° and cook uncovered for about 2 hours 1 hour and 45 minutes, or until the sauce is very thick and the meatballs are very tender; turn the meatballs once or twice during cooking.

11) Transfer the meatballs and tomato sauce to a large platter.

12) Garnish with the basil and Pecorino and serve hot.

Make Ahead: The cooked meatballs can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat and garnish just before serving.

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