Italian Cocktail Meatballs with Herbs and Ricotta

A medley of herbs adds a touch of freshness to these bite-sized treats.

  • Preparation Time50 mins
  • Cooking Time45 mins
  • DifficultyEasy
340g pork mince
340g turkey mince
115g whole milk ricotta
1 tsp minced flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 1/2 tbsp panko bread crumbs
1/2 medium onion, grated
1 1/2 tbsp finely grated pecorino
1 slice streaky bacon, finely minced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
30ml milk
0.5 tsp minced fresh thyme or lemon thyme
1 large egg, beaten
2 tsp salt
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce (about 0.5 tsp)
Freshly ground black pepper
240ml extra-virgin olive oil
475–700ml homemade or bought marinara sauce
Small fresh basil leaves
1) In a large bowl mix the pork, turkey, ricotta, parsley, panko crumbs, onion, pecorino, bacon, garlic, milk, thyme, egg, salt, Worcestershire sauce and black pepper to taste. Mix until just combined; don't overmix. The mixture will be pretty soft.

2) Take tablespoons of the mixture and using your hands, gently form into meatballs about the size of ping pong balls. Put them on a large plate; cover and refrigerate for at least one or up to 24 hours.

3) Heat the oil in a medium non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add about a third of the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until well browned on all sides, about 6 mins. Transfer the meatballs to a plate and repeat with the remaining meatballs.

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

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

Cook's Note: Be gentle when you're forming meatballs – too firm a hand makes them dense and tough.
The uncooked meatballs can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for three days, or frozen for up to six weeks.
The cooked meatballs can be frozen with or without the sauce.

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