Ricotta meatballs with tomato sauce are said to be typical of Calabrian cuisine, a land rich in grazing land where it is still easy to find excellent local fresh ricotta from both cows and sheep. This second course, which uses ricotta instead of meat, derives from traditional peasant cuisine, made with very simple but very flavorful and genuine ingredients. Immersed in tomato sauce, they will be even more tender and tasty! Delicious and nutritious, ricotta meatballs with tomato sauce are perfect for a vegetarian menu but can also be transformed into a gluten-free recipe if suitable bread is used. Have fun playing with shapes and colors of this dish and you will get some scary fun meatballs, perfect for your children’s Halloween menu. Try our version of ricotta meatballs with tomato sauce and… it will be love at first taste!
Ingredients for approximately 25 meatballs:
– 350g sheep ricotta
– 140g homemade bread crumb
– 60g grated pecorino cheese
– 40g grated Parmigiano Reggiano DOP
– 2 medium eggs
– ½ garlic clove
– 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
– Fine salt
– Black pepper
Preparation: 30 min
Cooking: 20 min
Servings: 4 people
Note + time for draining the ricotta (even overnight)
Before starting to prepare the ricotta meatballs with tomato sauce, make sure to drain the liquid from the sheep ricotta by putting it in a fine-mesh sieve in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours, ideally overnight. Then proceed as follows: remove the crust from the bread, cut the crumb and finely chop it in a food processor. Meanwhile, take the ricotta and sift it with a fine-mesh sieve.
Place the chopped bread in a large bowl together with the sifted ricotta and add the crushed half garlic clove and the beaten whole eggs. Add the grated Parmigiano and pecorino cheese, parsley, salt and black pepper to taste. Mix well with a fork until you obtain a soft but compact mixture.
Pass some oil on your palms and shape the mixture into meatballs of about 30g each. Continue until you obtain about 25 pieces. Set aside and proceed with the preparation of the tomato sauce: in a pan, brown the oil and the unpeeled garlic clove. Once the garlic has taken color, remove it from the heat.
Add the tomato passata, a pinch of salt and the basil leaves. Adjust the pepper to your taste. Bring the sauce to a simmer over low heat, then add the ricotta meatballs you have prepared, distributing them evenly aside to each other. Cook for about 10 minutes over low heat and, once the necessary time has elapsed, turn off the heat and serve the ricotta meatballs with tomato sauce hot.
Ricotta meatballs with tomato sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days at most. They can be frozen once cooked.
It is impossible to resist this tasty dish! The original Calabrian recipe for ricotta meatballs with tomato sauce uses sheep’s ricotta, but if you prefer, you can also use cow’s ricotta. If you want to try a variant of this recipe, you can fry the ricotta meatballs in olive oil instead of cooking them in the tomato passata.