Moist and tender ricotta meatballs in homemade tomato sauce

Moist and tender ricotta meatballs in homemade tomato sauce

Dry meatballs are a no-go ! So here's a recipe for extra tender and moist meatballs without using pork, 100% beef here and a delicious tomato sauce. Wanna know my little secret ? A touch of ricotta makes these meatballs so so fluffy and tender.

I usually add a little milk and breadcrumbs too, it helps the meatballs hold their shapes better without taking out any moisture, throw an egg in to bind everything together. The meatballs are easy to shape, they look a little fragile but they hold well while cooking. I pan fried mine before finishing cooking them in the tomato sauce so they have a nice golden crust and keep a nice shape.

For some extra deliciousness, I added a bit of parmesan in (and ON) the meatballs, I love the parmesan-basil flavor combo, it's refreshing and so good.

Of course, you can use your favorite storebought sauce to maje this less time-consuming, the sauce recipe I put here is really simple and fuss-free though and it's a delicious one. You can also panfry the meatballs all the way through and not cook them in the sauce.

Moist and tender ricotta meatballs in homemade tomato sauce (10 meatballs) :

  • 300 g ground beef
  • 50 g ricotta
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 egg
  • 3 basil leaves
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 10 g grated parmesan
  • Salt and pepper

For the tomato sauce :

  • 1 onion
  • 400 g crushed tomatoes
  • 100 g tomato purée
  • 10 cl water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Start by making the sauce.

Mince the onion and garlic.

Heat a little bit of olive oil in a sauce pan. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes.  

Add garlic, thyme, oregan, bay and basil to the sauce pan. Cook for 30 seconds.

Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato purée and water. Season with salt and pepper. Let it simmer on low covered (it'll spatter!) for 30 minutes at least. It's better an hour or two. You can blend it to have a smooth sauce or leave it chunky.

While the sauce is simmering, prep the meatballs.

Grate the garlic cloves and chop the basil thinly.

In a bowl, add all the ingredients of the meatballs. Mix well with your hands.

Shape 10 meatballs of equal size.

Fry the meatballs a few minutes on each side in a pan with a little olive oil and finish the cooking in the tomato sauce for 5-10 minutes.  

Serve with your favorite pasta and a mountain of parmesan !