Crispy Ricotta Meatballs with Sheet-Pan Tomato Sauce

A typical homemade sauce simmers for hours on the stove top to meld flavors. Roasting a mixture of fresh and canned tomatoes, chopped garlic, and fresh herbs on a sheet pan gets you there in only 20 minutes.

Crispy Ricotta Meatballs with Sheet-Pan Tomato Sauce
Photo: Carson Downing
Hands On Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
75 mins


  • 1 cup ricotta cheese

  • 1 egg

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 3 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, oregano, or thyme

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes

  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

  • Salt and ground black pepper

  • ¾ cup panko

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil or vegetable oil

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 12 ounce linguine or spaghetti


  1. For meatballs: In a large bowl combine ricotta, egg, parsley, 2 tablespoons basil, the sage, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Add ground beef; gently mix until just combined. Form into twenty-four 1-inch meatballs.

  2. Preheat oven to 425°F. For sauce: In a 15x10-inch pan combine cherry and crushed tomatoes, garlic, remaining basil, and the parsley. Roast 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Season with 1/4 tsp. each salt and black pepper. For a smooth sauce, use an immersion blender or a blender to puree.

  3. Meanwhile, place panko in a shallow dish. Working in batches, add meatballs; roll gently to coat.

  4. In a large skillet heat oils over medium-high. Working in batches, cook meatballs 4 minutes each side or until golden brown and cooked through (160°F). Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Cover, keep warm.

  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to boiling. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Toss pasta with sauce, top with meatballs, and, if desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Makes 5 servings.

To freeze meatballs:

Prepare meatballs through Step 1. Cover and chill up to 1 day. To freeze, place on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Freeze 4 to 6 hours or until firm. Transfer to a freezer bag; freeze up to 6 months. Before cooking, thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

To Bake Meatballs

Lightly oil a 15x10-inch baking pan. Place panko-coated meatballs on prepared pan. Bake in a 425°F oven for 16 minutes until done (160°F), turning once.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

677 Calories
29g Fat
73g Carbs
35g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 5
Calories 677
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 29g 37%
Saturated Fat 9g 45%
Cholesterol 115mg 38%
Sodium 798mg 35%
Total Carbohydrate 73g 27%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 35g
Vitamin C 25.5mg 128%
Calcium 227mg 17%
Iron 7mg 39%
Potassium 891mg 19%
Fatty acids, total trans 1g
Folate, total 47.6mcg
Vitamin B-12 1.7mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.5mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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