This recipe was an act of pure randomness. I was staring at a half empty can of ricotta cheese that was left over from lasagna night. As a thrifty shopper, I was determined to make use of it before it went bad. And the panko crust? I was inspired by the crunch of yummy chicken parmesan. And so, these panko crusted ricotta meatballs were born! The result? A juicy meatball with a fantastic crunch. This one’s a keeper!
1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 + 1 cup panko breadcrumbs, divided
1 large egg, beaten
Olive oil, for frying
Preheat your oven to 375F.
Saute the chopped onions and garlic with a teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add in the oregano and red pepper flakes, to wake up their flavors.
Once the aromatics are softened, set them aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, add in the beef, onions, garlic, parsley, ricotta, parmesan, 1/4 cup of panko, salt, pepper and the egg.
Using a fork, stir the mixture to combine. I like using a fork because it keeps the meat from getting overworked.
Using an ice cream scoop, portion out the meatballs and shape them with your hands.
Roll each meatball in the left over panko crumbs (1 cup) and pat them lightly to remove the excess breading.
Coat the bottom of a frying pan with olive oil (about 1/3″ of oil). Heat to medium high heat and brown the meatballs on both sides.
Drain them on a paper towel, then place them onto a baking rack and bake at 375F for 15-20 minutes, or until they’re cooked through. This will depend on the size of your meatballs. Serve with pasta, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and some parsley! Delish!
I do something similar. On days when I don’t feel like cheese, I omit the cheese and add an extra egg. I also use a little less salt and instead of oregano, I use Italian spices mix, 1teaspoon. I also use shake n bake bread crumbs for the exterior, they are thicker than normal bread crumbs but smaller than panko, that way they don’t overpower the meatball itself.