Ricotta Meatballs

This beautiful idea for a tender, moist meatball comes from celebrity chef Fabio Viviani. Ricotta cheese is added to these meatballs as a foolproof way of avoiding a dry meatball. Cooking the onion and garlic before hand will caramelize the sugars in the onion and mellow the garlic flavor. The olive oil brushed on before baking prevents moisture from escaping from the meatballs so they stay juicy and tender. Enjoy!

Ricotta Meatballs
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1-1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1-1/4 lb. ground beef
1/2 C. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
8-oz. whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 C. panko bread crumbs
1/4 C. fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 C. fresh basil, chopped
Marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking pan with cooking spray or use parchment.

In a medium skillet cook onion and garlic in 1/2 Tbsp. of the olive oil 8 minutes or until translucent. Let cool. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine egg, ground beef, Parmesan, ricotta, panko, parsley, basil, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Add onion mixture. Using your hands, mix to combine. Shape into 2-in balls. Place on prepared pan.

Brush or drizzle remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil on meatballs. Bake 22-25 minutes or until just cook through (165 degrees). Meanwhile, in a saucepan bring marinara sauce to boiling. Add meatballs; coat with sauce. Simmer 5 minutes.

Yields: 24-28 meatballs

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