Meatless ricotta "meatballs" with a light tomato sauce
|January 11, 2010||Posted by ameliaps under cheese, Italian, pasta and grains, ricotta, tomato, vegetarian|
Among my goals for the new year are a) eat less meat and b) start exploring traditional Italian dishes.
So here’s a recipe that combines both goals and its fast and quick for an evening meal: meatless ricotta “meatballs” with a light tomato sauce.
This is a traditional recipe from the Italian southern region of Calabria (the toe-point of Italy’s boot), where fresh sheep ricotta is often available. It is essentially a poor peasant dish but these days that translates into “healthy”.
If you cannot find fresh sheep ricotta and pecorino cheese you may substitute with regular ricotta (the freshest the best) and with Parmesan cheese. Also note that home-made breadcrumbs are much better than storebough (and with a food processor, it takes just a minute!).
BTW, also reference my recent post on ricotta “gnudi”, another type of ricotta gnocchi made with no eggs and no flour or other starch. Utterly delicate.
Meatless ricotta “meatballs” with a light tomato sauce
They are fluffy and tender, rather gnocchi-like.
Makes about 24
1 2/3 cups (180 gr.) freshly made breadcrumbs from Italian bread (e.g. sourdough or ciabatta)
15 oz. (430 gr.) fresh sheep ricotta
1 cup (100 gr.) freshly grated pecorino (or Parmesan) cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg, TT
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
26 oz (750 ml) strained tomatoes (I like Pomi’ brand)
a pinch of sugar to take away the acidity of the tomatoes
If you have some day-old or stale bread make breadcrumbs by pulsing it in the food processor until crumbs form (neither too fine nor too coarse). If not, you may use fresh bread that you will have dried slightly in the oven. Or, in a pinch, just use store-bought breadcrumbs.
In a large bowl mix together all teh “meatball” ingredients and mix with a fork until the mixture comes together. Allow to rest in the refrigerator while you make the sauce.
In a wide (this is important so you can later fit all the “meatballs”) saucepan, heat the oil on medium, add the garlic, then the tomato sauce. Season with sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.
Retrieve the ricotta mixyure from the fridge and using your hand slightly wet with olive oil form many small balls that you will then gently drop and fit into the pan with the sauce.
Allow them to cook about 10 minutes then turn off.