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
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.
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.
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.
Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer until cooked through, 8 minutes. Spoon into bowls, top with ricotta and garnish with basil.
The meatballs can be refrigerated in the sauce overnight.
Traditional Chianti Classicos, made with only Sangiovese, have an herbal edge that befits these meatballs.