[RECIPE] Have a Ball Today & Make Sure It’s Triple Meat

The Schwartz Meatball. One way, three meats

We can never get too familiar with a meatball, especially on National Meatball Day.  Harry’s Pizzeria® set the Schwartz benchmark; it’s all about the ball, pure and simple, with a pedestal of zesty tomato sauce and just a touch of Parmigiano to finish.  After the perfectly balanced blend of three meats was dialed in over the years, we were ready to up the game when Fi’lia came along.  Not much has changed.  The ball is virtually identical at its core. Michael combines three different types of meat to create a sturdy yet irresistibly tender texture. They’re quickly pan fried to seal in the juices and rendered even more luxurious when brought up in this ridiculously flavorful and punchy tomato sauce.  Fi’lia’s slightly more luxurious take is thanks to the addition of whipped ricotta and decadent garlic bread.  The healthy dollop just adds a special something, melting into the bowl for a creamy softness and pretty color contrast. The crunch from garlic bread ties this magical combination together, the perfect utensil to soak up luscious sauce.

Meatballs with Whipped Ricotta and Garlic Bread

Serves 6

1 pint whole milk
3 eggs
6 slices stale white bread, crust removed
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly cracked pepper
½ cup grated Parmigiano
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 pounds ground beef
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pounds ground pork
Canola oil for frying
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 cans of high quality crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 whole garlic clove, smashed
6, ½-inch thick slices of country-style sourdough
2 cups whole milk ricotta
Fresh basil leaves for garnish

Whisk milk and eggs together in a large bowl. Add the bread, breaking it up in your hands until the liquid is fully absorbed. Add the salt, pepper, cheese, garlic and parsley, and continue to mix thoroughly with your hands until combined. Add the three ground meats and continue to mix using your hands until fully incorporated. Turn out onto a large sheet of plastic wrap, wrap up securely and refrigerate until chilled, at least an hour. Remove from refrigerator and using an ice cream scoop or large tablespoon, portion into balls, gently cupping them in your hands to form uniform spheres and setting in rows on a baking sheet while you work. Place a large cast iron skillet over medium heat with ¼ inch of canola oil. Place the handle side of a wooden spoon in the oil. Once bubbles form around the edges it’s ready. Pan fry the meatballs, working in batches to brown on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. Remove balls as they’re ready with a slotted spoon and set to drain on a paper towel lined plate.

Add the oil to a large sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium heat, and sweat the onions for 5-7 minutes, cooking until translucent. Add the garlic, tomatoes, salt and pepper and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Add the basil and meatballs, and simmer for 20 more. While the sauce is cooking, preheat oven to 300F.

Add the garlic to the olive oil. Place sourdough slices on a baking sheet, lightly drizzle with the garlic-infused oil and bake for 8 minutes or until crisp but not browned.

Serve meatballs warm from the stove, family-style or plated in individual bowls, layering some sauce as a base and topping with spoonfuls of ricotta, crostini to the side and freshly torn basil.

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