Chef John's Ricotta Meatballs

mindq's picture
For how many people: 
Preparation Time: 
  • 1/2 onion, minced 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 pound ground beef 
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese 
  • 1/4 cup packed chopped Italian parsley 
  • 1 egg, beaten 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste 
  • 1/3 cup dry bread crumbs 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 (28 ounce) jar marinara sauce 
  • 1 cup water
  1. Saute onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir garlic into onion and turn off heat. Transfer onion mixture to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Stir ground beef, ricotta cheese, parsley, egg, kosher salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper with onion mixture until almost combined; stir in bread crumbs and continue to mix until thoroughly blended.
  3. Roll about 2 tablespoons of mixture into a 1-inch ball for each meatball. Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil in same skillet used to cook onions. Place skillet over medium heat and brown meatballs on all sides in hot oil, about 5 minutes. Hold a crumpled paper towel in a tongs and use it to remove excess grease from skillet.
  4. Pour marinara sauce and water over meatballs in skillet. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are cooked through and no longer pink in the center, about 30 minutes.