Italian Cocktail Meatballs with Herbs and Ricotta


3/4 pound ground pork
3/4 pound ground turkey
4 ounces (1/2 cup) whole milk ricotta
1/3 cup minced flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 medium onion, grated (about 1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons finely grated pecorino
1 slice bacon, finely minced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or lemon thyme
1 large egg, beaten
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce (about 1/2 teaspoon)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 3 cups homemade or quality jarred marinara sauce
Small fresh basil leaves


Mix the ground meats, ricotta, parsley, panko crumbs, onion, pecorino, bacon, garlic, milk, thyme, egg, salt, Worcestershire, and black pepper, to taste, in a large bowl. Mix until just combined; don't overmix. The mixture will be pretty soft.

Using your hands, gently form mixture into 1 tablespoon small meatballs (about the size of ping pong balls). Put them on a large plate or pan; cover and refrigerate at least an hour or up to 24 hours.

Heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add about 1/3 the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until well browned on all sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a plate and repeat with the remaining meatballs.

Drain off the oil and wipe out the skillet. Return the meatballs to the skillet and pour in the marinara sauce. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Serve the meatballs, skewered on a platter with a dollop of the sauce and a fresh leaf of basil. They can be serve warm or at room temperature.

The meatballs can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for 3 days, or frozen for up to 6 weeks.

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