June 3, 2012 Silver Lining
A few years ago, I received a speeding ticket. It was my first (and only) infraction, but because I was a new driver, I had to go to a traffic class. I can’t say I learned anything valuable from the class, but what I did learn that day was the deliciousness that is Cantoro’s Italian Market (which is conveniently located next to the church where the traffic class was held). A recent trip to the market inspired this meal. The meatballs were moist and flavorful — anything you would want from a meatball. The sauce was kind of improvised (no recipe there, sorry!), but any type of good marinara-type sauce would pair well with the meatballs. Definitely, definitely, definitely make these meatballs!
Classic Beef Meatballs – The Meatball Shop
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds 80% lean ground beef
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs (purchased fresh from Cantoro’s)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried (I left this out)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Drizzle the olive oil into a 9×13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface. Set aside.
Combine the ground beef, ricotta, eggs, bread crumbs, parsley, oregano, salt, red pepper flakes, and fennel in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated.
Roll the mixture into round, golf ball-size meatballs (about 1 1/2 inches), making sure to pack the meat firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, being careful to line them up snugly and in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid. The meatballs should be touching one another.
Roast for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. A meat thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball should read 165°F.