Vegetarians will have to forgive me, but I firmly believe a person cannot have too many meatball recipes.  They cook quickly, can be served with many different types of sauces, and leftovers taste as good or better as the first time around.  This version was originally published in The Meatball Shop Cookbook, but it is also available online. I added my own twist to it, using almond flour instead of bread crumbs.  I don’t have gluten allergies, just happen to love playing new twists on a classic.

Ricotta Meatballs copy

(adapted from this version)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds 80% lean ground beef
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
about 2 cups simple tomato sauce (store-bought or home-made)

Heat the oven to 425°F.

Combine by gently beating together the ricotta, eggs, almond flour, parsley, oregano, salt, red pepper flakes, and fennel in a large mixing bowl.  When the mixture seems homogeneous, add the ground beef and mix by hand until  incorporated.

Roll the mixture into round, golf ball-size meatballs and place on a rack over a baking dish, allowing some space in between them.  Roast for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through.

While the meatballs are roasting, heat the tomato sauce in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring often. Add the meatballs to the saucepan, and simmer gently for 10 minutes.


to print the recipe, click


Comments: I do not remember the last time I fried a meatball.  Baking works so much better! I am not even talking about excess fat consumption, but the whole preparation is much more user-friendly.  Recently I found this cute baking dish with an insert that is perfect for cooking meatballs, as they sit elevated and the hot air circulates all around them.  No need to mess with them once you start baking.  After they are brown and almost cooked through, I add them to my sauce of choice, simmering them gently until serving time.

The almond flour and the ricotta gave these meatballs a wonderful texture, creamy but not at all heavy.  You can make them smaller if you prefer, but I like them to be more substantial.  The tomato sauce I used was very simply prepared: a can of tomatoes simmered with sautéed shallots, celery, and carrots.  Salt and pepper. A touch of orange zest at the end.

Almond flour is not cheap, but where we live for some odd reason every once in a while it goes on sale.  When that happens,  I grab a couple of bags and stick them in the freezer.  It is a wonderful ingredient for both sweet and savory dishes.  One of my favorite cakes ever is this one, in which the almond flour shines in all its nutty glory.  😉

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41 thoughts on “RICOTTA MEATBALLS

  1. I like your roasting pan very much as it sounds like a great way to cook the meatballs with minimal sticking or having to turn them over to get them evenly browned. The ricotta is a great addition to the meatballs to keep them moist and add flavour as well.


  2. I’ve had this recipe on my to be tried list for a long while, must get to it! Looks fantastic! And you are so right about baking vs. frying the meatballs. I started baking them 20 odd years ago when we had our catering biz and would bake 3 sheet pans at a time! Have never gone back to stovetop meatballs! The rack idea is perfect, will be adding another piece of equipment to my traveling kit!


  3. I was never a big fan of meatballs, but then again, I never had them with ricotta in them. That sounds delicious – as does your sauce. I forgot about your orange zest trick in the sauce. I’m going to try that ASAP!


  4. Having a bit of a smile wonderfing what you are having for dinner tonight? Methinks not these beautiful meatballs!! Although I mostly do bake my meatballs I also have not added ricotta – that will certainly be remedied in the next few days!!


    • You really wanna know? Well, you probably posted this yesterday, but still… tonight we had some Camembert cheese, Roquefort, and baguette in the hotel room… going for a last walk under the Eiffel Tower, early to bed to get ready for a full day traveling back tomorrow…. Au revoir, Paris!


  5. If you ever feel that you’ve too many meatball recipes, Sally, just ship the surplus to me. The same goes for the actual meatballs, for that matter. These here sound terrific, with the ricotta keeping them nice and moist. I bet they don’t last long.


  6. Those sound so good and I do happen to have some almond flour in the freezer! I haven’t made meatballs in ages. I know my husband would be thrilled too. Thanks for the inspiration!


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