Friday, June 10, 2011

Pork and Ricotta Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

I have always loved meatballs.  My grandma makes them every time I visit her in Connecticut.  These aren't her original meatballs but these meatballs are just as good.  The pork and ricotta mix is rich and delicious and together they make a delicious meatball.  My mom and I used tomatoes that we had roasted and then frozen for further use, but fresh tomatoes work as well.  Not only do I love these meatballs but my mom is basically in love with them.  We usually order our pork from Christiansen Family Farm or you can buy it from Clifford Family Farm at the Downtown Farmers Market. It is pictured with local pasta from Nu Nooz pasta although we usually make our own fresh pasta. I hope you will like them as much as she does!

Pork and Ricotta Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
1/2 pound sliced bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes 
1 1/2 pound ground pork  (Clifford Farms or Christiansen Farms)      
3 large eggs, lightly beaten (Clifford Farms)
2/3 cup ricotta cheese (we use homemade)
3 ounces pancetta, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp. fresh or dried oregano
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, chopped
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
Redmond sea salt
2-28 oz. cans peeled/crushed Italian tomatoes
freshly ground pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. In a food processor, pulse the bread to coarse crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a large bowl and add the pork, pancetta, eggs, ricotta, parsley, oregano, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper, and 1&1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt.  Mix well.  
  2. Shape into 24 meatballs or so, using about 3 rounded tablespoons of the mixture each (a 1/4 measuring cup may give the right amount). Transfer the meatballs to an oiled medium roasting pan.
  3. Roast the meatballs in the oven for 30 minutes, or until firm and just beginning to brown.  Turn meatballs after approximately 15 minutes.
  4. Using a spatula, loosen the meatballs from the bottom of the pan. Add the crushed tomatoes to the pan and season with salt and pepper.  
  5. Lower the oven temperature to 325˚ F and cook uncovered for about 2 hours, or until the sauce is very thick and the meatballs are very tender; turn the meatballs once or twice during cooking. 
  6. Transfer the meatballs and tomato sauce to a large platter. Garnish with basil and Pecorino. 

-Use fresh tomatoes from your garden

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