Veal and Ricotta Meatballs: Polpettine di Ricotta e Vitello
- 1/2 pound veal shoulder, finely ground in a meat grinder
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese, drained for 1 hour
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- A few gratings nutmeg
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Flour, for dusting
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, for frying
- 2 cups basic tomato sauce, recipe follows
- Basil leaves, for garnish
- Basic Tomato Sauce:
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Spanish onion, chopped in 1/4-inch dice
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
- 1/2 medium carrot, finely shredded
- 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
- Salt, to taste
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the veal, cheese, egg, Parmigiano, nutmeg, salt and pepper. When the mixture is well-blended, shape it into several balls 1-inch diameter. Lightly dust each ball with the flour.
In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet with fairly high sides, heat the oil over high heat until just smoking. Add the balls, a few at a time, and cook until they are uniformly golden brown. Remove with a spider or slotted spoon and keep warm while the remaining meatballs are cooked.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the tomato sauce over high heat until it begins to bubble. Keep hot while the meatballs cook.
Serve the meatballs in the hot sauce, with the basil leaves sprinkled over as garnish.Basic Tomato Sauce:
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve. This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer. Yield: 4 cups
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