Primal Meatballs and Homemade Ricotta Cheese


Spaghetti and meatballs has always been one of my all-time favorite dishes, especially my dad’s meatballs! I’ve always made his recipe which uses ground turkey, so I wanted to try a more traditional recipe with ground beef and ground pork, but still with some of Dad’s best tricks, like using a muffin pan to bake the meatballs instead of frying. The oven still gives them a nice browned exterior without all the grease. The result=deliciously flavorful, moist meatballs that I topped with sweet tomato sauce and fresh homemade ricotta cheese. This will definitely satisfy any craving for spaghetti and meatballs and you can serve it over roasted spaghetti squash if you like. Great for guests or when you are really in need for some Italian comfort food!


Meatballs (Difficulty-Easy; Makes 8-10 large meatballs)

  • 1 lb. organic free-range 85% lean ground beef
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork (organic if you can find it)
  • 1/4 lb. prosciutto, chopped
  • 1/2 large sweet onion (preferably Maui), grated
  • 3/4 c. almond meal
  • 1/2-3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh organic parsley
  • 1/2 c. organic buttermilk
  • 1 large organic free-range egg yolk
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. organic ketchup
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 recipe of Don’s famous Pomodoro sauce

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a muffin pan with olive oil based cooking spray. Add all ingredients to a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and stir with your hands to incorporate together. Gently form into large round meatballs (I made 8) and add each to its own well in the muffin pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Test the meatballs with your fingers–they should have a little give but be firm enough that your fingers spring back when applying a little pressure. You can also test with a meat thermometer. They should be around 145 degrees in the center. Let cool in pan for about 5-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make tomato sauce according to recipe. Transfer meatballs to sauce pan and turn to coat. Serve with fresh ricotta cheese (recipe follows), drizzle of high quality finishing olive oil, spaghetti squash, and parmesan cheese.



Fresh Ricotta Cheese (slightly adapted from Food Network Magazine) (Difficulty-Intermediate; Makes ~1 cup cheese)

  • 6 1/2 c. organic whole milk
  • 1 1/2 c. organic heavy cream
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. organic distilled white vinegar

Line a large sieve with 2 layers of cheesecloth or paper towels and set it over a large bowl.


Bring the milk, cream and 1 teaspoon salt to a simmer in a large nonreactive pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the lemon juice and vinegar and cook, stirring, until the mixture curdles, about 1 minute. Pour the mixture into the prepared sieve and let drain, at least 5 minutes or up to 30 minutes for thicker cheese. There will be a lot of liquid (whey) left over as it only makes a small amount of cheese. You can actually redo the process with the leftover liquid to make even more ricotta. It also makes great cooking liquid! I used it in place of broth in my cauliflower rice and it gave it even more flavor. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. I drizzled finishing oil on mine and seasoned with a tiny bit of salt.



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