Italian Cocktail Meatballs with Herbs and Ricotta

Total Time:
2 hr 35 min
50 min
1 hr
45 min

about 50 meatballs

  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • 3/4 pound ground turkey
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) whole milk ricotta
  • 1/3 cup minced flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 medium onion, grated (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated pecorino
  • 1 slice bacon, finely minced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or lemon thyme
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 3 cups homemade or quality jarred marinara sauce
  • Small fresh basil leaves

Mix the ground meats, ricotta, parsley, panko crumbs, onion, pecorino, bacon, garlic, milk, thyme, egg, salt, Worcestershire, and black pepper, to taste, in a large bowl. Mix until just combined; don't overmix. The mixture will be pretty soft.

Using your hands, gently form mixture into 1 tablespoon small meatballs (about the size of ping pong balls). Put them on a large plate or pan; cover and refrigerate at least an hour or up to 24 hours.

Heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add about 1/3 the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until well browned on all sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a plate and repeat with the remaining meatballs.

Drain off the oil and wipe out the skillet. Return the meatballs to the skillet and pour in the marinara sauce. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Serve the meatballs, skewered on a platter with a dollop of the sauce and a fresh leaf of basil. They can be serve warm or at room temperature.

The meatballs can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for 3 days, or frozen for up to 6 weeks.

- Be gentle when you're forming meatballs--too firm a hand makes them dense and tough.

- These can be frozen cooked (in sauce) or raw; freeze raw meatballs on a cookie sheet, then transfer them to resealable plastic bags. Cooked-in-sauce meatballs can go into plastic containers.

Copyright (c) 2007 Television Food Network, G.P., All Rights Reserved

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