Turkey Ricotta Meatballs With Salsa Verde


I don’t think I ever met anyone who doesn’t like meatballs. My family especially love meatballs made of ground beef and cheese that are slowly simmered in tomato sauce that they grew up eating at their Nonna’s table. Although I enjoy these meatballs too every once in a while, I like to try out new variations as well. I recently had some ground turkey in the freezer that I wanted to use up, and instead of making a pasta sauce or chili, I decided to make meatballs to serve as our meat entree that night. I mixed the meat with ricotta cheese, a little grated Parmesan cheese, and bound everything together with eggs and breadcrumbs.

I wanted to make a sauce for the meatballs and decided to use fresh herbs from my garden to make a vibrant flavored salsa verde. Along with the fresh herbs, I flavored the sauce with anchovies, garlic, and capers along with some of our own extra virgin olive oil. The meatballs were very tender and moist, and the sauce paired perfectly with the golden brown balls. This recipe made enough for six people, and I had a lot of leftovers that warmed up really nicely the next day. Although I used turkey for my meat, you could also use ground veal or chicken if you preferred. I prefer to drain my ricotta cheese in a sieve for an hour or so before using to remove as much liquid as possible. This helps to keep these meatballs light, as you will need less breadcrumbs to bind the mixture.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2017

Turkey Ricotta Meatballs With Salsa Verde

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Full Fat Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 Pound Ground Turkey
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Eggs
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/2 to 3/4 Cup Fresh Breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil

Salsa Verde:

  • 1 Cup Fresh Parsley Leaves
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Basil or Mint Leaves
  • 2 Anchovy Fillets
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled
  • 1 Tablespoon Capers
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the drained ricotta cheese, ground turkey, Parmesan cheese, eggs, and salt and pepper.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs, mix well, and shape meat mixture into golf ball sized balls.
  3. Place the meatballs on a tray, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least two hours.
  4. To make the sauce, place all the ingredients into a blender and pulse until mixed. (The mixture should still have texture)
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, and brown the meatballs well on all sides.
  7. Once browned, place the meatballs onto a tray, and bake for 10 minutes or until cooked through.
  8. Place the meatballs onto a tray and spoon the sauce on top.