Veal and Ricotta Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
Recipe by Marco Canora via New York Times

1 pound ricotta cheese
1 pound ground veal (triple ground by butcher or at home), chilled
2 large eggs
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon salt, or as needed
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg, as needed
Vegetable oil for frying
1 cup flour, or as needed
4 cups mild tomato sauce


1. Wrap ricotta in cheesecloth a day before serving and place in a sieve set over a bowl. Weight cheese, cover and refrigerate overnight. (Cheese should then have consistency of tofu.)

2. The next day, combine all ingredients except oil, flour and sauce in a bowl and mix with hands until completely smooth, pale and homogenized, about 4 minutes. Test seasoning by frying a bit in hot oil. It should taste assertively salty (braising in sauce tames seasoning); adjust salt if needed. Cover and chill before shaping into meatballs.

3. Dust a baking sheet and your hands with flour. Keep remaining flour nearby in bowl. Gently form meat into nine balls, flouring your hands again between meatballs (alternatively use a floured ice cream scoop to form the meatballs). Place the meatballs on the floured baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. You can also freeze the meatballs until a later date; this is a great thing to do if you double or triple your batch of meatballs.

4.Place about 1 1/2 inches oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, fry meatballs, moving them as little as possible. When bottoms are golden brown, after about 2 minutes, gently turn them. Fry until uniformly brown on all sides. Meanwhile, heat sauce in pot over medium-low heat and when meatballs are done, remove from oil with slotted spoon and add to sauce.

5. Simmer over medium-low heat for at least 30 minutes; they can remain in the sauce for hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Can be refrigerated overnight, and gently reheated. Serve meatballs in sauce alone, or over pasta, with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano passed separately.

Yield: 4 servings.

© 2023 Olga Massov