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"Polpette di ricotta al sugo", as these are known in Italian, are meatless balls made out of ricotta cheese and homemade bread crumbs. Think meatballs, but without the meat! The soft balls are then simmered in a simple homemade tomato sauce. I like to serve these with a side of greens, such as broccoli rabe.

Recipe Summary

20 mins
35 mins
15 mins
4 servings


Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ricotta Balls:


Instructions Checklist
  • Line a baking sheet or large plate with waxed paper.

  • Combine ricotta cheese and eggs in a large bowl; mix well. Add bread crumbs, Pecorino Romano cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper; mix until thoroughly blended.

  • Take a scoop of the mixture with a small cookie scoop and put it in the palm of your hands. Roll it into a ball and place on the waxed paper. Repeat until all of the mixture has been shaped into balls. Place in the refrigerator while you make the sauce.

  • Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, wine, basil, sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to a simmer.

  • Add ricotta balls to the sauce. Simmer, shaking the pan occasionally to cover the balls with sauce, until heated through, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Cook's Note:

To make homemade bread crumbs, remove the crusts from sliced bread and grind in a food processor.

Nutrition Facts

748 calories; protein 35.7g; carbohydrates 92.6g; fat 24.8g; cholesterol 141.6mg; sodium 2198.8mg. Full Nutrition