Ricotta Meatball Hoagies

These ricotta-laced beef meatballs taste like they came right out of an Italian grandmother's kitchen. Pile them on a hoagie roll to transform this appetizer into an entree.

Prep Time:
40 mins
Bake Time:
22 mins
Total Time:
40 mins
Servings:
12
Yield:
65 to 70 meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped (1 cup)

  • ¼ cup minced garlic (about 2 heads)

  • 3 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

  • 2 ½ pound 80% lean ground beef

  • 1 cup grated Grana Padano cheese (2 ounces)

  • 1 15 ounce carton whole milk ricotta cheese

  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs

  • ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce

  • Shaved Grana Padano cheese (optional)

  • Cooked pasta or hoagie rolls, for serving (optional)

Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce

  • 2 ounce pancetta, chopped (optional)

  • cup finely chopped onion (1 small)

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 pound fresh roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (about 3 cups), or one 28-ounce can whole peeled roma tomatoes, drained and chopped

  • ½ cup dry red wine

  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • ½ cup snipped fresh basil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large skillet cook onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil for 8 minutes or until tender. Cool.

  2. In a large bowl combine eggs, onion mixture, ground beef, 1 cup Grana Padano, the ricotta cheese, panko, parsley, basil, salt, and pepper. Mix to form a uniform mass and shape the mixture into 2-inch balls. Test one meatball before starting the next process. If the ricotta is too watery, add more breadcrumbs or ground beef. If it is too dry, add more ricotta.

  3. Place meatballs on two parchment-lined 15x10x1-inch baking pans. Brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until 165°F.

  4. In a very large skillet bring the marinara sauce to boiling. Add half of the meatballs to the skillet and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes or until a nice saucy consistency. Garnish with Grana Padano, if desired, and serve over cooked pasta or on a hoagie roll to make these meatballs a meal.

Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce

  1. In a large saucepan cook pancetta (if using), onion, and garlic in hot oil over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until pancetta starts to brown and onion is tender, stirring occasionally.

  2. Stir in tomatoes, wine, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in basil.

Freezer Tip

Freeze leftover meatballs up to 1 month. When ready to use, in a very large skillet bring marinara sauce to a simmer. Add frozen meatballs; return to simmer. Cover; simmer 10 minutes or until heated through.

Place sauce in an airtight container. Seal and chill in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

71 Calories
5g Fat
1g Carbs
5g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 71
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 22mg 7%
Sodium 59mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 1.1mg 5%
Calcium 34mg 3%
Iron 0.5mg 3%
Potassium 67mg 1%
Folate, total 3.9mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.3mcg
Vitamin B-6 0mg

*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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