Pork Meatballs with Fresh Tomato Sauce & Herbed Ricotta:
Why is it every time I hear someone say – “I hate it when it rains” – I think the complete opposite and my mind immediately races to a multitude of ideas on what comfort food to cook. Perhaps it was because I grew up in Florida where afternoon rain showers were an inevitability, especially during thunder season. Or perhaps it’s just because I thoroughly enjoy cooking comfort food, and rainy days are an inspiration. Either way, it is hard to not want meatballs with homemade spicy tomato sauce on any day. Originally, we were aiming to make this as a simple bowl of unique meatballs, where the highlight was an herbed ricotta for garnish. But, by chance, pasta made its way into the final result to complete the comfort food journey, and the combination of flavors made for a rewarding meal. The herbed ricotta was pillowy and with delicate hints of coriander, and the pasta light and airy tossed with parmesan and fresh basil. The ground almonds however were the unique secret ingredient in the pork meatballs, also with hints of herbs and spice. Looking back to those drenched adolescent days long ago, it’s hard to remember the sources of inspiration, but today I welcome every rainy day.
SECRET INGREDIENT: Almonds
TIP: Sauce can be made a day ahead to let flavors come together more. Pasta can be optional
Pork Meatballs with Fresh Tomato Sauce & Herbed Ricotta
- Almonds (1/4 cup)
- Milk (1/4 cup)
- Ground Pork (1 lb)
- Salt & fresh ground pepper
- Garlic (2 cloves, minced)
- Oregano (1 Tbsp)
- Thyme (1 ½ tsp)
- Coriander (1 1/2 tsp)
- Cumin (1 tsp)
- Basil (1/4 cup, chopped, plus 2 Tbsp for pasta)
- Parsley (1/4 cup, chopped)
- Red wine (1 Tbsp)
- Egg (1)
- Fusilli Pasta (1 lb)
- Parmesan Reggiano (1/2 cup)
- In a food processor, grind almonds briefly. In a small bowl, add ground almonds and milk and let rest for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl combine remaining ingredients along with almonds and milk.
- Form small meatballs and plat on a lined baking sheet.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and cook for 5 minutes, turning to brown all sides.
- Add sauce to meatballs and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Cook past in lightly salted water until just al dente. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add grated parmesan and remaining basil.
- Spoon pasta into bowls, add meatballs and sauce, top with ricotta and garnish with basil leaves.
For Herbed Ricotta
- Ricotta cheese (1 cup)
- Parmesan Reggiano (1/2 cup, grated)
- Coriander (1 tsp)
- Basil leaves (1 Tbsp, chopped)
- Salt & fresh ground pepper
- In a small bowl, mix all ingredients to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
For Tomato Sauce
- Extra-virgin olive oil (1 Tbsp)
- Garlic (4 cloves, minced)
- Crushed red pepper (1/2 tsp)
- Oregano (2 Tbsp)
- Red wine (1/4 cup)
- Basil (4 whole stems with leaves)
- Bay leaves (2)
- Crushed tomatoes (28-ounce can)
- Salt & freshly ground pepper
- In a large saucepan, heat the oil and then add garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and oregano. Cook over medium-high heat for 1 minute.
- Add red wine and cook for 1 minute.
- Add whole basil leaves with stems, bay leaf, and tomatoes. Reduce heat to low and simmer stirring occasionally for 1 hour. Season with salt and fresh pepper. Discard bay leaf and basil stems.
-- Weather When Posted --
- Temperature: 27°F;
- Humidity: 45%;
- Heat Index: 27°F;
- Wind Chill: 14°F;
- Pressure: 29.76 in.;