Veal & Ricotta Meatballs

Polpettine di Ricotta e Vitello
(Veal & Ricotta Meatballs)

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At first I thought it was a bit odd.  Why make meatballs out of anything else but meat?  Yes, traditional meatballs have other ingredients like parsley, breadcrumbs, egg as a binder, even some grated cheese to add flavor.  But ricotta cheese?  Well, I tasted them, they were great, so I decided to try it at home.

There are a few minor but significant differences in this recipe from your traditional meatballs.  No onions, no garlic, and while some say pork, I used veal, which seems to be more traditional and authentic.

Ingredients:

  • 16oz (1 pound) ground veal
  • 8oz (half pound) ricotta cheese
  • 1oz fresh chopped parsley (need not be exact)
  • 1 Egg (use one medium or large, or 2 small, depending)
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (and rinse can with an additional quarter can of water and add to the pot)
  • Salt & Pepper

A pound of ground veal, after you add all the other stuff, should yield you about 20 meatballs.  These should be half the size of your regular meatballs, but larger than mini Swedish meatballs.  In a hot pan of olive oil, add them slowly and don’t splash the hot oil all over you or the stove. continue to cook and rotate until they are dark golden brown on all sides.  Add these to a pot of simmering crushed tomatoes and continue to cook for 40-50 minutes.  I left them on there a bit longer, over an hour, but it does not matter much and they still taste great.

You can serve this alone as an appetizer, with spaghetti, or even in a sandwich.  You will find that these are creamy, and while you are using less meat, remember that they are still rich with the ricotta cheese, so if you are counting calories, beware.

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