Ricotta balls in tomato sauce

Serves Icon
Time 01 Hour
plus 30 minutes refrigeration and time to drain ricotta
  • 600g ricotta
  • 140g dried breadcrumbs
  • 50g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated (alternatively use Grana Padano)
  • 10 large basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon mixed herbs
  • 2 eggs
  • Sea salt (and optional freshly ground black pepper)
  • Crusty bread, to serve
Italian tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons (60ml) olive oil
  • ½ large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, whole
  • 700g Italian passata sauce
  • 800ml water
  • 60g tomato paste
  • 6 large basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

How to Make It
Step 1

To prepare the ricotta for this recipe, ideally drain in a colander for a few hours to overnight.

Step 2

Transfer the drained ricotta to a large mixing bowl. Add the breadcrumbs, Parmigiano Reggiano (or Grana Padano), chopped basil, mixed herbs, eggs and season well with salt and pepper.

Step 3

Use clean hands (or you may wish to use disposable gloves) to mix until just combined. Roll a tablespoon of the ricotta mixture into a ball using the palm of your hand. Transfer the ricotta ball to a plate and repeat with the remaining ricotta mixture. Cover the ricotta balls with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes before cooking.

Step 4

Meanwhile, to make the Italian tomato sauce, place the olive oil in a heavy-based stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is soft. Add the Italian passata and water. Bring to the boil, then add the tomato paste, basil, sugar and a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 5

Add the ricotta balls to the sauce and allow to cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 30 minutes then remove from the heat. Discard garlic clove.

Step 6

Serve the Ricotta balls in tomato sauce with crusty bread and ladles of extra Italian tomato sauce on top – Buon appetito.

Tip: This recipe makes a great ricotta ball and tomato sauce sandwich or roll.

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