Herbed Lamb Meatballs with Rich Tomato Sauce and Ricotta

Chef Seamus Mullen loads these flavor-packed lamb meatballs with almonds, basil, parsley, mint, oregano and thyme, then serves them in a savory tomato sauce spiked with anchovies and a dollop of fresh ricotta cheese.

Slideshow: Great Meatballs
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6 to 8
KEY: Fall, Winter, Spanish, Appetizers/starters, Healthy, Make Ahead, Staff Favorites, Dinner

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Ingredients

sauce
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup lightly packed basil leaves, torn
  • 2 tablespoons oregano leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Two 28-ounce cans whole Italian tomatoes with their juices, crushed
  • 6 large anchovy fillets, chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
meatballs
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 pounds ground lamb
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped basil leaves, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dry red wine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Ricotta cheese, for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. Make the sauce In a large saucepan, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the garlic, basil, oregano, bay leaves and red pepper and cook over moderately high heat for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and simmer over moderately low heat, stirring, until the tomatoes are saucy, 1 hour. Stir in the anchovies and season with salt and black pepper.
  2. Make the meatballs In a bowl, cover the almonds with the milk and let stand until most of the milk has been absorbed, 30 minutes. Add all of the remaining ingredients except the whole basil leaves, olive oil and ricotta and mix well. Form into 1 1/2-inch meatballs and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Make the meatballs In a skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Working in batches, cook the meatballs over moderately high heat, turning, until nearly cooked through, 7 minutes per batch.
  4. Make the meatballs Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer until cooked through, 8 minutes. Spoon into bowls, top with ricotta and garnish with basil.

Make Ahead

The meatballs can be refrigerated in the sauce overnight.

Suggested Pairing

Traditional Chianti Classicos, made with only Sangiovese, have an herbal edge that befits these meatballs.

Contributed By Photo © Con Poulos Published January 2014

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464383 recipes/herbed-lamb-meatballs-rich-tomato-sauce-and-ricotta 2013-12-09 Seamus Mullen fall|winter|spanish|appetizers-starters|6|8|healthy|make-ahead|staff-favorite|weeknight-dinner january-2014 recipes,herbed-lamb-meatballs-rich-tomato-sauce-and-ricotta 464383
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