These are delicious and easy. No frying necessary! And the meatballs stay perfectly round, moist and in one piece. A great weeknight dinner idea. Serve with your favourite pasta.
1/2tspcrushed red pepper flakes
128-oz. canSan Marzano whole tomatoesor other good-quality
1tsp.saltplus more as needed
1lb.lean ground beefor half beef/half pork
1/2cupwhole milk ricotta cheese
1cuppanko bread crumbs
1Tbsp.extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste
Start the tomato sauce: In a medium saucepan, heat a splash of extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, for about a minute more. Add the canned tomatoes, fresh basil and salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer while you make the meatballs.
For the meatballs: Prepare a cast-iron frying pan by wiping with olive oil. Pre-heat oven to 400 ° F.
Place all the meatball ingredients into a medium sized bowl. Mix thoroughly by hand until they are completely combined.
Coat your hands with a bit of olive oil, and using your hands, form mixture into 3 or 4 oz. balls. (will make 8-10 meatballs).
Place formed meatballs into the prepared cast-iron frying pan and place into the pre-heated oven. Set the timer for 40 minutes and cook the meatballs without moving them. Continue to simmer the tomato sauce, stirring occasionally and breaking up larger pieces of tomato.
After 40 minutes of cooking, remove the frying pan from the oven. Carefully spoon off any fat that has accumulated in the pan, without moving the meatballs. Taste your tomato sauce and add salt and pepper as needed, to taste. Pour the tomato sauce over the meatballs and distribute evenly in the pan. Return to the oven and allow to cook a further 20-30 minutes, until the sauce is reduced. If the meatballs start to over-brown or look too dry, spoon a little of the tomato sauce over the top of them.
Now is a good time to cook your pasta, if you are serving these over pasta.