Veal and Ricotta Meatballs: Polpettine di Ricotta e Vitello

Total Time:
1 hr 30 min
30 min
1 hr

4 servings

  • 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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