Meatballs with Sunday Gravy, Whipped Ricotta and 'Cherry' Tomato Salad

Save Recipe
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr 50 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Inactive: 1 hr
  • Cook: 1 hr 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
Share This Recipe

Ingredients

Meatballs:

4 slices white bread

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, diced

8 cloves garlic, chopped

2 pounds ground beef (15 percent fat)

1 1/2 pounds ground pork

1/2 pound ground veal

1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning

1 cup grated Parmesan

3 eggs

1 tablespoon kosher salt

Canola oil, for pan-frying

Tomato Sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 ripe banana, chopped

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, or to taste

3 (16-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Garlic Bread:

2 heads garlic, top 1/4-inch sliced off

Olive oil

1 stick butter, softened

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 large, long loaf Italian bread, halved lengthwise

Whipped Ricotta:

1 cup ricotta

1 tablespoons whole milk

1 tablespoon half-and-half

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Tomato Salad:

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 large basil leaves, thinly sliced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, soak the bread slices in milk until completely soft. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil, onions and garlic and saute until translucent, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. In a large bowl, combine the ground meats with the dried seasonings, Parmesan, cooked onions, the eggs, salt and the bread mixture. Mix with your hands until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Remove the chilled meat mixture from the refrigerator. Roll the mixture into 12 large meatballs. In a large skillet, add about 1/2-inch of canola oil. Heat the pan over medium-high heat. Fry the meatballs until browned on all sides. Cook them in batches, if they don't all fit in the pan at once. Set aside.
  3. In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat and saute the onions and garlic until soft, about 6 minutes. Stir in the banana, red pepper flakes and crushed tomatoes. Add the meatballs, lower the heat and simmer the sauce until thickened and the meatballs are cooked through, about 1 hour. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Put the garlic heads on a large square of foil, cut side up. Drizzle them with olive oil and wrap them up tightly. Put the packet on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes. Remove the garlic from the wrap and let it cool. Squeeze the garlic out of the heads into a small bowl. Stir in the softened butter, salt and parsley and blend well. Generously spread the butter mixture on each half of the bread. Put the bread halves on a sheet pan and bake until toasty and brown, about 15 minutes. Slice each half of the bread into 12 slices.
  6. Whipped Ricotta:
  7. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, milk, half-and-half and salt and pepper, to taste. Using a whisk, blend everything together until creamy and fluffy.
  8. Tomato Salad:
  9. Stir together the olive oil, salt and pepper and basil. Toss the tomatoes in the oil.
  10. To serve the meatball 'sundae': put 3 meatballs and some sauce in each shallow bowl, top with some of the tomato salad, and the whipped ricotta. Arrange the bread slices on the sides of the meatballs to resemble a banana split and serve.