Beef Meatballs with Tomato Sauce
Beef and Ricotta Meatballs
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (80/20 blend)
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 1 shallot (minced)
- 2 tablespoons parsley leaves
- 1 lemon (zested)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup wheat bread (day old, diced)
- 2 ounces whole milk
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (plus more as needed)
- 1/2 cup basil leaves (torn)
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large Spanish onion (finely diced)
- 6 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt (or more to taste)
- 2 cans San Marzano tomatoes (28 ounces each, crushed by hand)
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- For the Meatballs: In a large mixing bowl, add the beef, ricotta, garlic, shallot, parsley, lemon zest, coriander, cinnamon and salt. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, soak the bread in the milk. After the bread has thoroughly soaked up the milk, remove it from the bowl and ring out the remaining liquid. Add the soaked bread to the meat mixture and mix to combine. Form 3-ounce balls using about 1/3 cup mixture for each ball.
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the meatballs. Cook until golden-brown on the outside, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Add the browned meatballs to the tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 30 minutes.
- Serve the meatballs in a bowl. Garnish with basil leaves and grated Parmesan cheese.
- For the Tomato Sauce: Heat oil in a 4 quart saucepan or large Dutch oven over medium heat, add the onion and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and salt and cook until everything is soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the juices. Add the wine, bay leaf, oregano, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaf and discard. Tip: If not using right away, let the sauce cool, then cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 2 months.