recipe by Michael Ponzio, Executive Chef at Medinah Country Club, Medinah, Illinois, USA
(Yields: 10-8 ounce Meatballs)
• 1 pound Ground Beef Chuck
• 1 pound Ground Veal Leg
• 1 pound Ground Pork Belly
• ¼ pound Ciabatta Bread (chopped)
• ¼ bunch Parsley (chopped)
• ¾ cup Whole Milk
• 1 Tbs. Ricotta Dolce Cheese
• 3 ½ tsp. Kosher Salt
• ½ tsp. Black Pepper
• 2 Whole Eggs
• ¾ Tbs. Garlic (chopped)
• ½ pound Romano Cheese (grated)
(Yields: 1 ¾ quarts)
• 3 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
• 2-32 oz. cans San Marzano Tomatoes, Crushed
• 6 Basil Leaves (chopped)
• Kosher Salt (to taste)
• Ground Black Pepper (to taste)
(Yields: 2 cups)
• 3 cups Ricotta Dolce Cheese
• 2 oz. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Place the beef, pork, and veal in a large bowl. Gently break apart the meat and set the bowl aside.
In a second bowl, combine the milk, eggs, ricotta, and bread in a bowl and mix well to incorporate the milk into the bread. Allow the mixture to rest for 5 minutes so the milk can soak into the bread.
Add salt, pepper, parsley, and cheese to bread mixture and mix until well incorporated.
Gradually add the meat to bread mixture and gently mix by hand until thoroughly combined.
Refrigerate the meat mixture for ½ hour then begin to form the mixture into 8-ounce meatballs.
Fry the meatballs in a pan with olive oil until golden brown on all sides and then place in a 350-degree oven until they reach 145 degrees internally.
Remove from the oven and allow them to rest on the counter for 10 minutes.
Chef Note: When making these meatballs, it is important to rest them before serving. This will allow the proteins to reabsorb some of the liquids they lost in cooking and give you a more succulent meatball.
In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil.
Add the minced garlic and sauté for 2–3 minutes to a light golden brown.
Pour in the tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
Allow the tomatoes to cook, stirring frequently, for 1½ hours.
Add the basil, season to your liking, and cook for five more minutes.
Chef Note: Look for tomatoes that are San Marzano or San Marzano style. They are available in most stores. If you can only find them as whole peeled tomatoes, you can crush them by hand when adding them to the pot.
Drain the excess moisture out of the ricotta.
Place the cheese in a food processor and begin to whip the cheese.
Slowly drizzle the olive oil in until fully incorporated.
Set the cheese aside until ready to use.
Chef note: Do not let the ricotta whip for too long or it will become watery. This process should be quick, only to emulsify the olive oil.
Place the meatball on a plate and evenly coat it with marinara sauce.
Top the meatball with a dollop of the whipped ricotta and drizzle olive oil over the top to finish the dish.
Bruno Giacosa Barbera d'Alba