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Homemade ricotta meatballs with an all-day simmered tomato sauce make the perfect weekend dinner before a busy week.
Okay, so this meal took all day people. All. Day. But it was worth every minute.
If this sounds intimidating, don’t be worried. The bulk of the cooking was the sauce, which is mostly hands-off. There were a lot of dishes, though. Sigh.
Let me tell you about the sauce. The sauce comes from Serious Eats, and if you follow the directions exactly, you will never want to eat another sauce. It’s deep in color and flavor. The tomatoes turn to an almost jam-like consistency for the best flavor you can imagine. I’ve made this sauce many times, and while I’ve never not eaten it, I can tell you that you need to follow the directions exactly. Use whole San Marzano tomatoes. Four large cans seem like a lot, but it cooks down so much that you need that many. Hand crush them. And don’t leave out the fish sauce. This sauce takes all of 6 hours to make, so you definitely need to start it well before the meatballs.
For the meatballs, I learned the secret to extra tender meatballs — ricotta cheese instead of milk. You’ll mix some panko breadcrumbs with ricotta and let it sit, just like you might with bread and milk.
For these, I used a combination of Impossible beef and Impossible pork because I don’t eat meat, and they came out amazing. A friend of mine that I had over said she couldn’t believe they weren’t meat. There are so many layers of flavor that it doesn’t matter. But you can certainly use either beef only or a combination of beef and pork.
I baked these and then simmered in the sauce, then ate them with garlic bread. I didn’t even need any pasta. We had plenty of meatballs for a few days (although not enough sauce) so subs, spaghetti, whatever you like is on the table.
Ricotta Meatballs with All Day Tomato Sauce
Homemade ricotta meatballs are tender, moist, and how a meatball should be. With an all day simmered sauce, this is perfection.