2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces
1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 pound lean ground burger (I used Chuck)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 large egg
1 shallot (minced)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
½ tablespoon salt
¾ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 can crushed tomatoes (28-ounces)
Salt and pepper
3 teaspoons dried basil
Preheat oven to 450F.
In a large bowl using a fork mix together the ricotta cheese and bread slices; pressing the bread into the cheese to form a paste. This may take about 10 minutes – kind of let the bread absorb the cheese and mix occasionally. Add the beef, Parmesan, parsley, eggs, shallots, garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon zest, and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined. Divide mixture into 12 portions of about ¼ cup each and roll into meatballs. Place meatballs on a baking pan covered with aluminum foil, lightly sprayed with cooking spray, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until meatballs are nicely browned; set aside
Remove meatballs from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 300F.
While meatballs are baking prepare the sauce in a Dutch oven using the oil over low heat. Cook the garlic until softened, add the red pepper flakes and basil, continue cooking until fragrant. Mix in the crushed tomatoes and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat and leaving the cover loose reduce heat to a medium-low simmer and cook until mixture just starts to thicken; salt and pepper to taste.
Place the meatballs in the sauce, cover and bake for 30 minutes or until meatballs are tender.
Serve with Parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top.