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    Seasonal Recipes

    Recipe: Instead of adding breadcrumbs to beef meatballs, stir in ricotta and simmer in sauce

    Beef and ricotta meatballs
    Claudia Catalano for The Boston Globe
    Beef and ricotta meatballs

    Makes 16

    More delicate than the breadcrumb-bound variety, these meatballs rely on ricotta for moisture and tenderness. Drop them directly into a simmering tomato sauce, rather than browning them in oil — your stovetop will be happy! They'll keep their shape and flavor the sauce. They’ll also stay juicy. Toss any extra sauce with your favorite pasta.


    ¼cup olive oil
    3cloves garlic, smashed
    ¼teaspoon crushed red pepper
    2cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes
    1teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

    1. In a wide, heavy pot over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the smashed garlic cloves and crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. The garlic should be lightly browned. Carefully add the crushed tomatoes and salt and bring to a boil.


    2. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the sauce is well flavored. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if you like.

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    ¼cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
    1teaspoon salt
    ½teaspoon black pepper
    ¼cup freshly grated pecorino
    8ounces (1 cup) whole milk ricotta
    1pound ground beef
    Extra pecorino romano (for serving)

    1. In a bowl, combine the parsley, egg, salt, pepper, pecorino, and ricotta. Mix well with a fork. Add the ground beef and mix until combined. With wet hands, form the mixture into golf-ball- size rounds, dropping each one into the simmering sauce as you shape them.

    2. Return the sauce to a simmer. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer, undisturbed, for 15 minutes.

    3. Gently jostle the meatballs with a spoon so they are all coated in sauce. Continue simmering for 5 minutes. Total simmering time is 20 minutes.


    4. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with pecorino romano.
    Claudia Catalano

    Claudia Catalano can be reached at