Pork and Ricotta Meatballs
For a fresher take on meatballs, boot the beef in favor of pork—and add ricotta cheese.
Why This Recipe Works
Instead of a trio of ground meats as is typical for meatballs, we wanted to use all ground pork in this recipe. To showcase its sweet but mild flavor, we keep our flavorings to a minimum, adding a modicum of minced shallot and garlic, some Parmesan, lemon zest, and a handful of parsley. Since ground pork tends to dry out more easily than ground beef, a panade is essential for adding moisture and lightness to the meatballs. We found that rich, slightly tangy ricotta mixed with fresh bread crumbs balanced the moisture while dispersing evenly throughout the meat mixture to keep the pork from clumping into tough pieces. Roasting the meatballs on a rack allows for even browning without the mess of a frying pan. We braise the meatballs in the sauce for 30 minutes, which not only makes the meatballs more tender but also infuses the sauce with great flavor.