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Meatballs with Ricotta in Tomato Sauce Print Email

10 ounces ground pork
10 ounces sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
2 ounces prosciutto or pancetta, minced
4 cups cubed white bread, without crust
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
3 eggs, lightly beaten
Olive oil
one 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade*

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, add the pork, Italian sausage, bread cubes, parsley, oregano, fennel, red pepper flakes, and salt. Use your hands to mix until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Do not over-work.

Whisk the beaten eggs and ricotta together in a separate bowl until there are no more large clumps of ricotta. Pour into the bowl of the meat mixture. Mix with your hands until just incorporated. Again, do not over-mix. **

Preheat oven to 425F. Coat the bottom of a large roasting pan with olive oil. Form meatballs in your hand, about 1 1/2-inches in diameter, using about 3 TBS of the mixture to form each meatball. Arrange in pan so there is some space between them. If too crowded they will steam and not brown.

Roast meatballs in the oven for about 30 minutes, turning the meatballs after about 20 minutes, until the meatballs are beginning to brown.

Remove pan from oven. Use a metal spatula to gently dislodge meatballs if stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the crushed tomatoes to the pan. Carefully cover the pan with aluminum foil. Return the pan to the oven. Lower the heat to 300F. Cook for an additional hour to 1 1/2 hours.

Sprinkle basil into sauce before serving. Top with grated Parmesan.
Makes about 24 meatballs. Serves 5-6.

Notes: *To chiffonade basil leaves, stack leaves on top of each other, then roll up leaves lengthwise like a cigar, slice thinly starting at the end. ** If you want, to test seasoning, you can take a small bit of the mix, form into a patty, and heat in a small skillet on the stovetop until cooked through. Depending on how this test patty tastes to you, add more herbs, chili, or salt to taste to the meat mixture. Keep meat mixture in refrigerator while doing this.
adapted from

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