For National Pasta Day we made Giant Meatballs with Ricotta by Martha Stewart.  Her link is below.  Interestingly, we had a very busy memory day within our family.  Victoria and Spencer stopped by early that morning on their way to see God’s beautiful world in the mountains.

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My parents were busy carving walking sticks from a tree in their garden.

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Giant Meatballs with Ricotta: MARTHA STEWART’S COOKING SHOW

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Ingredients

  • Olive oil, for baking sheet
  • 3 cups (1/2-inch pieces) crusty white Italian bread, crusts removed
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1 pound ground beef (80% lean)
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced (3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Marinara Sauce Recipe:

  • 3 ½ pounds fresh tomatoes, a mixture of plum and beefsteak, or two 28-ounce cans whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons best-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, if desired

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly brush a rimmed baking sheet with oil; set aside.Place bread in a bowl and add milk to moisten.

Chop bread into small pieces no larger than ¼-inch and place in a large bowl.

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Add veal, beef, pork, egg, onion, parsley, oregano, cheeses, salt and pepper. Using your hands, gently mix well until combined.

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Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions and roll each portion into a large meatball. Transfer meatballs to prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

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Meanwhile, bring the marinara sauce to a simmer in a large saucepan. Transfer the meatballs to the marinara sauce and simmer, partially covered, until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately with additional Parmigiano-Reggiano.

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For the Marinara Sauce:

  1. Slice an X into the bottom of each tomato with a paring knife. Lower tomatoes into a pot of boiling water and blanch for 15 to 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon or a spider to remove the tomatoes from the pot. Immediately plunge into an ice-water bath until cool enough to handle, about 30 seconds. Then pull off each peel, gripping the skin between your thumb and the flat part of the knife blade, starting at the X. Using the tip of your knife, remove cores. Tear beefsteak tomatoes into pieces.
  2. Heat oil and garlic, in a medium pot over medium heat until fragrant and sizzling, but not brown. Add tomatoes and season with 1 ½ teaspoons salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a rapid simmer and cook until tomatoes are falling apart and juice are reduced slightly, about 15 minutes.
  3. Working in batches, pass through a food mill fitted with the fine disk into a bowl, or puree in a food processor, straining out seeds if desired. If not serving immediately, let cool completely and store in an airtight container it the refrigerator up to 3 days, or the freezer for 3 months. (We did not use the food mill, we chopped the whole tomatoes using a kitchen knife.  This worked fine.)

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My husband will take the crust of the bread and brown it with a little bit of butter and serve with hummus for a pre-snack while we are awaiting the final delicacy.

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