Italian Ricotta Meatballs with Cheesy Polenta

Today has been a great day! I have been recipe testing in my kitchen all day-feeling creative and a tad bit like a mad scientist. I really do enjoy the creative aspect of cooking-combining flavors and textures that make people say, “Mmmm!”

I have been craving Italian food for a while now. Due to Covid I have been unable to go to my favorite restaurants to get my fix. I don’t know about you, but I rarely have a good experience with Italian to-go….it’s just not the same.

So this week I have Italy on the brain! I decided to make my hubby and I these ricotta meatballs with a cheesy polenta and it did not disappoint. These meatballs are SO tender and fluffy on the inside. And if you choose to broil them for a bit-whew! That crispy exterior just pushed them over the top!

I need to tell you though, I am not an egg inside of meatballs girl…there, I said it…. I personally feel that when you start adding eggs to meatballs you are making your way over to meatloaf. And meatloaf, as much as I love it, does not have the same texture that a really good meatball should have. #sorrynotsorry 🙂

So pour yourself a glass of really good wine and enjoy this dish with someone you love. And hey, it’s quarantine-you could just enjoy it on your own too <3

Ingredients

For the Meatballs:

1/2 lb ground beef

1/2 lb ground pork

1/2 cup ricotta

2 large garlic cloves, grated (or pureed in a food processor)

1/2 onion, grated (or pureed in a food processor)

2 tbs basil, chopped

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1/3 cup grated Parmesan

1/2 tbs salt

1 tsp pepper

2 slices of bread, cut into chunks

1/2 cup milk or milk alternative

1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce

For the Polenta

4 1/2 c water

1 tps salt

1 c yellow cornmeal (you can buy grits if it is easier for you to find)

1 c grated Parmesan

2 tbs butter

Salt, to taste

Instructions

For the Meatballs

Preheat oven to 425.

In a small bowl, mix the bread and milk together and let soak as you prepare the meatballs.

In a mixing bowl combine the beef, pork, minced garlic, grated onion, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Carefully fold until just combined. Squeeze excess milk from bread and mix completely into the meatball mixture.

Roll into meatballs-a tad smaller than golf ball size- and arrange onto a baking sheet. Place into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. For a crispy exterior, turn the oven to broil and broil for 5 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on them. I can’t tell you how much toast I have burned from an un-watched broiler!

For the Cheesy Polenta

Bring the 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium size pot. Once boiling, add the salt and pour the cornmeal slowly into the stock, whisking as you pour. Whisk until there are no lumps.

Reduce the heat to medium low, whisking often, until the polenta begins to thicken-about 30-40 minutes. If the polenta is not as soft as you would like, add the 1/2 cup of water and loosen it up. Add the butter and Parmesan cheese. Salt to taste.

Serve meatballs on a bed of cheesy polenta. Top with favorite marinara sauce.


Meatball Pizza

Blogging during this quarantine has been….interesting, to say the least. I have not stepped foot inside a grocery store for weeks and have been cooking off what we have in our freezer and pantry.

This meal was inspired by my pantry staples. We wanted something that felt indulgent-like we were sitting at our favorite restaurant. I searched through my freezer and pantry and made this-Meatball Pizza! I did not have pizza sauce so I made my own using a jar of spaghetti sauce we had left in the refrigerator (recipe for that is included).

I really hope everyone is making the best of this time apart. Honestly, my personal Facebook feed has never showed more home cooked meals than it has this quarantine! Everybody is cooking, and that makes my heart so happy!

Substitute whatever you have in your pantry–all of ours look different right now.

Happy Eating!

Ingredients

1 frozen Cauli-Power pizza crust (or any crust of your liking)

1 cup pizza sauce- Below I have how I whipped one up out of my pantry staples

1/4 cup sliced peppers

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Drizzle of avocado oil

4 frozen meatballs cooked to packet directions, sliced

Parsley, oregano, and Parmesan to garnish

Instructions

Preheat oven according to your pizza crust directions.

To make the pizza sauce: In a small pot, combine 1 cup pasta sauce, 1 tbs tomato paste, 2 tbs milk of choice, 1 tbs dried Italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp salt, pinch of red pepper flakes and 1 tsp of honey. Stir to combine over medium heat as you prep the pizza ingredients.

Spoon the pizza sauce over the frozen pizza crust, leaving room at the edges.

Next, sprinkle on half of the cheese. Place the onion, peppers, and meatballs on the pizza in an even layer. Sprinkle the pizza with salt and Italian seasoning. Then drizzle the avocado oil over the top and sprinkle on the remaining cheese.

Cook according to pizza crust directions. Once the pizza is done, set your oven to broil. Broil the pizza for a few minutes. Make sure you keep your eye on it! It can go from delicious ooey-gooeyness to burnt in 5 seconds flat!

Remove from oven once the cheese starts to bubble.

Garnish with parsley, oregano, and Parmesan cheese.