This recipe for Pork & Ricotta Meatballs with Roasted Garden Tomato Sauce is from the pages of the newly released cookbook Five Mary’s Ranch Raised book by Mary Heffernan. I’m sharing this recipe with Mary’s permission but I highly, HIGHLY recommend you all pick up a copy of your own. I hope you all enjoy this simple meatball recipe as much as we did. The garden tomato sauce is to die for and a must make sauce before tomato season is over.
For the Tomato Sauce
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 4 pounds fresh ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
- kosher salt
- 6 large loves of garlic, whole and unpeeled
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar plus more if needed
For the Meatballs
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan (or another hard salty cheese)
- 1/2 of a small yellow or red onion, finely chopped
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- chopped fresh basil leaves for garnish
- To make the tomato sauce, position two oven racks evenly in the oven and preheat it to 400F. Brush two large rimmed baking sheets with olive oil. Spread the chopped tomatoes in an even layer, dividing them between the trays. Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt. Wedge the garlic cloves between the tomatoes on the two trays and give everything a good toss. Cook until the tomatoes are fragrant and starting to brown, about 45 minutes, rotating the two sheets once or twice while cooking. Check the tomatoes every so often to make sure they don’t burn. If they start browning too quickly, rotate them on the sheet.
- When cool enough to handle, squeeze the garlic out of their skins (discard the skins) into a blender or food processor. In batches, transfer the tomatoes to the blender and blend until smooth. (No need to discard the skin or seeds of the tomatoes, they add texture and flavor) Pour the sauce into a large saucepan and stir in the balsamic vinegar and a hefty pinch of salt. Set aside.
- To make the meatballs, increase the oven temp to 450F. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with oil. In a large bowl add the pork, beef, ricotta, parmesan, onion, egg, parsley, salt and pepper and mix well with your hands. Shape into meatballs, each about 2 inches in diameter. You should have about 28 meatballs. Space the meatballs evenly on the baking sheet and bake until cooked through and well browned on one side, about 20 minutes.
- Using a spatula loosen the meatballs from the pan and add them to the sauce. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wide serving bowl and garnish with more Parmesan cheese and basil.