Ricotta "meatballs" are a meatless meatball. Got that, I'll give you a minute. This was a food Sicilians used during Lent to substitute for meat. It was also used outside of Lent because ricotta was cheaper than meat. These meatballs are tender and so delicious. They have so much flavor with their fresh garlic and parsley ingredients and are a healthy VEGETARIAN option. You'll wish you had made more. I made these with part skim ricotta and did not fry them. Okay, well I fried some so that I could compare the original recipe to my healthier recipe and the results were just as good if not better. I'll start another blog and put the fried ones there. I'll call it Julia's Not So Healthy Italian Cooking. I bet it"ll be a hit.
3 lbs part skim Ricotta
6 eggs, beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1/2 cup parsley, chopped finely
3 medium garlic cloves, mince
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
2 32 oz. jars of tomato sauce, simmering slowly
Line a large plate with paper towels, 6 paper towels thick.
Pour ricotta on towels, making the ricotta about 1 inch thick and add 6 towels on top, store overnight in fridge. This will dry the ricotta out enough that it will be like the old fashioned ricotta in the cheese cloth, which is firmer than regular ricotta.
Simmer tomato sauce on low in a pot. Sauce should be barely boiling when the balls go in or they will break.
Mix all the remaining ingredients together, except the tomato sauce of course, until well blended.
Use a 1/4 cup measurer to scoop out even amounts of the ricotta mix, mold into balls and place in simmering tomato sauce. Do not mix the sauce at all.
Simmer very slowly for 15 minutes.
Serve with pasta. You're going to LOVE it!
Serves 6 (with a pound of pasta)
Wet your hands a bit before trying to roll the meatballs so they stick less to your hands.
The mix should be the same consistency and dryness of regular meatball mix. If you feel the ricotta mix is too wet or soft, add another 1/4 cup breadcrumbs. If still too soft add another 1/4 cup again until the right consistency is achieved.