Ricotta Cheese Meatballs

Like a lightening bolt from the sky I suddenly had a silly idea to try some new recipes for meatballs. From famous chefs.

I say silly because there’s nothing wrong with my original, the ones I’ve made. . . like. . . forever. The issue is forever. Nothing is forever. Not even meatballs.

Soon after this revelation Michael Symon made ricotta meatballs on The Chew.

He read my mind. I’m sure of it.

I adapted his recipe based on the reviews. And gut feeling. My guts talk to me when I read or create recipes. Doesn’t yours?

My gut said there was too much ricotta for them to stand up to all the handling they have to go through before they even start swimming around in the sauce and bumping into other meatballs. And fighting with that big, ole’ spoon.

So I cut the ricotta in half.

Half was plenty to keep them moist and tender yet firm enough to stay together. Plus, there’s Parmesan cheese as the bread crumbs.

I can’t even begin to tell you how outrageously delicious these are.


So quiet you-can-hear-a-pin-drop-delicious. As in everyone is too busy eating to stop and utter a word.

Or even to take the time to look up from their dish. Or take a breath, for that matter.

My sneaky suspicion is that no matter how many other recipes I make this will be the stand-out. The one I come back to again and again because I can’t get them out of my mind.

One of my secrets to making the perfect, never-over-mixed meatball (or meatloaf) is to use a fork to combine the mixture. Or your hands. Never a spoon. That’s a tragedy in the making. Your meat will be tough and heavy. So don’t. Just. Don’t.

I can’t think of anything in the world that compares to sitting down to a plate of homemade spaghetti and meatballs. Even if you think you don’t want them, after the first bite or two, you will realize you did. All along.

Thank-you Michael Symon. You’ve inspired me like crazy lately.

Ricotta Cheese Meatballs

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Ricotta Cheese Meatballs

Soft, moist, gluten-free meatballs made with ricotta and parmesan cheeses.


For the Meatballs:
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground beef
1/4 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, fresh grated
1 egg (beaten)
1/4 cup flatleaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed between fingertips
a few grates fresh nutmeg; a pinch or two of ground
sea salt and fresh black pepper
For the Sauce:
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
olive oil, for sauteing
sea salt and fresh black pepper
5 large cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 ounce) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, crushed between fingertips
pinch of sugar
red pepper flakes, optional, a few pinches
1 pound spaghetti
Parmesan cheese, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease with olive oil a large roasting pan or baking sheet with sides. In a large bowl combine all the meatball ingredients using your hands or a fork. Roll into 1 and 1/2 inch meatballs, place on baking sheet and bake 18 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile start the sauce by sauteing the onion and green pepper in an extra large soup pot or sauce pan, season with salt and pepper and cook until onion are translucent. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Add tomatoes, seasoning, a teaspoon of coarse salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, a pinch of sugar and red pepper flakes if desired. Bring to a simmer.
  3. Remove meatballs from oven and add them one by one into the sauce. Simmer 30-40 minutes, tasting the sauce and seasoning as needed. Serve over spaghetti with fresh grated parmesan cheese.


Adapted from Michael Symon


Goodnight Moon

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  1. says

    I make these once a year – with veal instead of pork. There’s something about ricotta that adds a dream quality to the meatballs. Michael Symon can be a wonder!

  2. Nichol says

    This reminds me I need to make my meatballs so I can get the recipe posted, but I never thought about adding Ricotta.  MMM.  And I agree, never mix with a spoon, I get my hands dirty and mix away:)

  3. says

    Even in my meat-free life I can still appreciate that Michael is THE MAN.  And these meatballs rock.  Ricotta makes just about everything in life better.

  4. says

    It’s a great idea to add ricotta cheese into meatballs, so they’re softer and more tasty. I do it often. Your spaghetti are very rich and appetizing. Bye bye, have a good day

  5. Words Of Deliciousness says

    Wow, these meatballs look wonderful. I too think that the ricotta sounds like a great addition to the meatballs.

  6. BeadedTail says

    MOON!  You are just so adorable!  We’re so glad to see you!

    Reeni, the meatballs look delicious but how you describe them makes me want them now!  

  7. Holy cannoli recipes says

    I never thought about putting ricotta in my meatballs but it does sound like a delicious addition. I will have to try this recipe very soon!

  8. Kim says

    I love watching Michael on The Chew and I definitely remember watching him make these meatballs.  His addition of ricotta really made me rethink the way I make meatballs.  Looks delicious, Reeni!

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