Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Ottolenghi’s Ricotta and Oregano Meatballs Recipe

By: The Food Hunter

These meatballs can be prepared a day in advance and easily reheated in the sauce. Serve over pasta for a delicious family meal.


Ottolenghi’s Ricotta and Oregano Meatballs Recipe

  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 large stalks celery, diced
  • 8 whole sprigs fresh oregano, plus 10g chopped oregano leaves
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 500g ground beef
  • 100g freshly made breadcrumbs
  • 250g ricotta
  • 60g grated Parmigiano
  • 1 egg
  • 20g chopped parsley

First, make the tomato sauce. Heat half the oil in a large sauté pan for which you have a lid. Add half the onion, half the garlic and all of the carrots, celery and oregano sprigs. Place on a medium-high heat and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring a few times, until the vegetables have softened without taking on any colour. If need be, put the lid on the pan, to help prevent the onions from catching and burning. Add the tomatoes, sugar, half the stock, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring from time to time, to give the sauce a chance to thicken gradually.

Meanwhile, make the meatballs. Put the remaining onion and garlic in a large bowl with the beef, fresh breadcrumbs, cheeses, egg, oregano leaves, parsley, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Mix together with your hands, then shape into 12-14 balls weighing about 70g each.

Heat a tablespoon and a half of olive oil in a large frying pan and, when hot, add the meatballs. Sear for two minutes on each side. (Depending on the size of your pan, you may have to do this in two batches, adding the remaining tablespoon of oil before cooking the second batch.)

Remove the whole oregano sprigs from the tomato sauce, then gently press the seared meatballs into the sauce. Pour over the remaining stock, or just enough almost to cover the meatballs; top up with a little water, if need be. Cover the pan and cook on a very gentle simmer for 30 minutes. If the sauce needs to thicken more after this time – you want a thick, pasta sauce-like consistency – remove the lid and increase the temperature a little so everything bubbles away. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside for at least 10 minutes before serving.

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