Beef & Ricotta Meatballs with Tomato Sauce
I never was a fan of meatballs, I found them to be mostly bland and dry when I tried them. I spent a lot of my earlier career working in Italian restaurants and found they were the same even then. So I came up with this recipe while working as head chef in a little restaurant on South Greater Georges street in Dublin. I celebrated my 21st at the time so that was a fair while ago. I perfected the recipe over the years and ended up with what many have said are the best meatballs they have ever eaten including the two friends who ate the ones you see in the picture with me.
The ricotta keeps them lovely and moist and adds a lovely flavour that goes so well with the little chilli and basil. You can change it to cheddar cheese if you don’t have ricotta but I really do recommend getting some. I have seen it in all the supermarkets for around the €2 mark.
Fresh basil is also really important to the balance of flavours so do your best to get some, every supermarket and veg store stocks it. DO NOT USE DRIED BASIL. Dried basil is terrible and tastes nothing like fresh. Dried oregano is better if you really have to use a dried herbs.
QUALITY MINCE IS VERY IMPORTANT… Never ever use cheap mince to make meatballs. Fatty mince will make the dish, and any dish with sauce you use it in, very greasy so use one with a maximum of 10% fat, less if you can. Keep mince with more that 10% fat for burgers as the fat keeps the burgers from drying out.
Watch my quick video tutorial on how to roll meatballs if you don’t know how. These are not the same meatballs I made in this recipe so they look a little different. The ones in this recipe will have more colour due to the chilli and basil.