Big Dan's Ramblings

Ramblings from a Boston Boy stuck in New York

Homemade Sauce and Ricotta Meatballs

My wife and I have been growing a garden since we bought our house a few years ago. Over the last few years, we’ve cut down our plantings to a few different crops that we use most frequently. At first, we were growing all kinds of peppers, beans, and even corn! And, we’ve had good luck with it. This year, due to the need for some more room in our yard, we’ve cut down on our plantings. However, we have followed the Square Foot Gardening method with great success this year. We have Roma Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, String Beans, Green and Red Peppers, Eggplant and Onions. Our Roma and Cherry Tomatoes have come in incredibly well this year. Since I’m not much of a tomato eater, I needed to find ways to use them. Being that I’m also a good Italian boy, I decided to try to make a tomato sauce from pure scratch.

So, here’s the basics of what you’ll need:

Tomato Sauce Ingredients
25 Roma Tomatoes
¼ cup Fresh Chopped Garlic
¼ cup Fresh Chopped Parsley
1 tbsp Dried Oregano
1 tbsp Dried Basil
Dash of Kosher Salt
Dash of Black Pepper
Olive Oil
1 tbsp sugar (optional)

In order to get started, the tomatoes need to be skinned. Start by boiling a pot of water. Place a bowl of ice-cold water right next to it. Once the water is boiling, place the tomatoes in it and let them sit, fully covered by water, for about 30 seconds or so. After about 30 seconds, remove the tomatoes and immediately place them in the cold water bath. Once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, remove them from the ice water bath. The skins will have ‘popped’ as shown in the picture to the right. Simply peel the skin off and place the tomato to the side. Continue this process until all the tomatoes have been skinned.

After the tomatoes have been skinned, place a sauce pot on the stove and turn it onto medium heat. Place enough olive oil in the pan to cover the bottom. While the olive oil is heating up, chop the garlic into small pieces. Add the garlic to the oil and let it saute for a little bit. In the mean time, give the tomatoes a rough chop. Once the garlic is ready, add the tomatoes and all the dry ingredients. Stir all the ingredients together while the sauce comes to a boil. Once the sauce is boiling, bring it back down to a simmer and let it sit for a few hours. Once your sauce is set, you can get started on the meatballs. Just a note, I suggest tasting the sauce after a few hours. If it is a little acidic, you may want to add a touch of sugar (go easy) until the acidic taste is balanced out.

I got the original recipe from the Passion Food blog and have tweaked it here and there to my own taste preferences. Feel free to experiment.

Meatballs
2lbs Ground Beef (85% lean max – you want a little fat)
3 – 5 Slices of White Bread (crusts removed)
¼ cup Milk
1 cup Ricotta Cheese
1 Egg (slightly beaten)
1 cup Parmigiano‐Reggiano Cheese (freshly grated, if possible)
1½ tsp Kosher Salt
Pinch of Black Pepper

Put the beef in a large bowl and set it aside. Break the bread into pieces and moisten with milk in a small bowl. Immediately squeeze out any excess milk. Tear the bread into small pieces over the meat. Add the ricotta, egg, grated cheese, salt and pepper. Using your hands mix well, making sure the bread is broken up and evenly distributed. Test one to see if the mixture is firm enough by rolling the mixture into a ball about 1 ½ inches in diameter. With dampened hands, form the rest of the mixture into 1 ½ balls. Place on a large baking sheet and chill until firm. (Note: the meatballs can be made a day in advance up to this point or frozen at this point.). This is where I varied from the recipe. The recipe recommended heating a large frying pan with about a ¼ inch of oil and then frying the meatballs until they are golden brown. Instead, I placed the entire tray in the oven at 350°F for about 30 minutes or so until they were golden brown. Either way you do it, once the meatballs are golden brown, dump them in the sauce and let it simmer until you’re ready to eat.

Once the sauce is ready, enjoy!

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2 responses to “Homemade Sauce and Ricotta Meatballs

  1. weighty 26-September-2010 at 9:59 pm

    gonna send this to my mom

  2. Pingback: Ramblings | 2010 Year In Review « Big Dan's Ramblings

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