ricotta meatballs

These light, slightly spicy meatballs are a great gluten-free alternative to a more traditional meatball. They are fairly fragile so be sure to take extra care when handling them.

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 cup homemade (or whole milk) ricotta
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
1 pound ground beef

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on bottom of a baking sheet. Season oil with salt and pepper. Set aside. 
  2. In a sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Cook onions until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Meanwhile, chop garlic. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over garlic and using back of a knife, smash garlic into a paste. Add to onions along with red pepper flakes and cook for about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and set aside to cool.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, add ricotta and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Using a spatula, combine until ricotta is smooth and creamy. Add egg and mix until egg is fully incorporated. Stir in Parmigiano-Reggiano and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Add cooled onion mixture and mix until well combined. Add beef and using your hands, mix until everything is combined (mixture will be really wet). Using a 2-inch ice cream scoop, portion out meatballs, rounding each into a ball with your hands. Place on prepared baking sheet. Roll each meatball in seasoned olive oil on pan, coating evenly. Bake for 45-50 minutes, turning once halfway, until meatballs are cooked through.

Makes 8 2-inch meatballs.