Veal Ricotta Meatballs

I found out that I passed the New York Bar Exam on a Monday.  (Yes, I’m a lawyer, please don’t hold it against me.) It was a cold, rainy November day.  That email was a rather climactic culmination of many, many months of anxiety and stress.  First the stress of studying the copious amount of material being tested, then the pressure of actually sitting through the exam, which was frankly made even more traumatic for me because I had to sit next to a guy who insisted on banally talking the entire time we weren’t actually writing the exam.  Then the exam is over but there’s the dreaded waiting on your score, which takes several months, by the way.

So there I was on that cold, rainy, November day, and I was sick as a dog to top it all off.  I felt so elated, yet I really couldn’t even express anything due to fever, my nose running like a faucet, splitting headache, body aches, and a hacking cough that wouldn’t let me finish a sentence without interruption.  I called all my family members to relay the good news, but what should have been, “MOM, I PASSED THE BAR!!!! AAAHHH!” was more like “Mob, (sniff) I passed the (hack, cough, cough, hack) hang od Mob, (cough, cough, sneeze) I passed (sniff, blow nose), MobIpassedthebar (cough, hack, cough).”

Fortunately, the bad cold had cleared itself up by the following Saturday evening, so Matt and I went out to celebrate.  I chose to eat at CraftBar, one of Chef Tom Colicchio’s wonderful eateries.  I had heard that Colicchio is famous for his veal ricotta meatballs, so I knew that’s what I would order.

They definitely lived up to their reputation.  First of all, they were not tiny little meatballs.  We’re not talking bite-size here.  You need a fork to eat them.  Speaking of which, the fork cuts through the meatball like it’s softened butter.  They are so moist.  You taste the mild veal flavor and the slight tang of the ricotta.  The ricotta mostly added texture, though, and no doubt contributed to the end result being so incredibly tender and pleasing.

This is really when I learned that veal makes for amazing meatballs.  And I loved the addition of the ricotta, so I knew that I would eventually make a rendition of these in my own kitchen.  Almost five years later might stretch the concept of eventually, but I say better late than never.  I made my meatballs much smaller, but the same deliciousness applied.  They were just as moist and unmistakably veal. We ate these as is because I didn’t want any of their flavor being drowned out by a tomato sauce; but you could certainly toss them in marinara and pasta if you like.

Source: adapted from, Wine Bites, by Barbara Scott-Goodman

2 slices good quality white bread, crusts removed, torn into pieces
1 1/2 pounds ground veal
3/4 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp herbes de Provence
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and black pepper
Olive oil, for frying

Put the bread pieces in a mini food processor and pulse to make fine bread crumbs. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the veal and lightly mix together with your hands.
In a smaller bowl, mix together the cheeses, egg, herbs, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add this mixture to the veal and work the mix with your hands until it’s just incorporated. Be careful not to overmix as this will produce tough meatballs.
Roll the mixture into balls that are about 1 inch in diameter. Put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet or on a plate.
Preheat a large saute pan over medium heat. Drizzle in some oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Once it’s hot, add the meatballs, in batches if necessary, and cook until brown on one side before turning. Cook the meatballs, turning occasionally, until they are evenly cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.

2 responses to “Veal Ricotta Meatballs

  1. Pingback: Ricotta Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins | The Texan New Yorker

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