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Sausage Meatballs with Ricotta in Tomato Sauce

Sausage Meatballs with Ricotta in Tomato Sauce
  • Meal

    Main Dish

  • Cusine

    Italian

Ingredients

10 ounces ground pork shoulder

10 ounces sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing

2 ounces prosciutto or pancetta, minced

4 cups cubed white bread, crusts removed first.

1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf 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

Extra virgin olive oil

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup chiffonaded* fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

In a large bowl, add the pork, Italian sausage, prosciutto or pancetta, 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. Incorporate eggs and ricotta: 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. 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. Form meatballs and place in roasting pan: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 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 Tbsp 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. meatballs in the oven at 425 degrees F for about 30 minutes, turning the meatballs after about 20 minutes, until the meatballs are beginning to brown. Add crushed tomatoes, lower oven temp: Remove pan from oven. Use a metal spatula to dislodge meatballs from being stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the crushed tomatoes to the pan. Carefully cover the pan with aluminum foil (carefully because the pan is still hot!) Return the pan to the oven. Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees F. Cook for an additional hour to 1 1/2 hours. Sprinkle basil into sauce before serving. Top with grated Parmesan.