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Spaghetti and Ricotta Meatballs


Spaghetti and Ricotta Meatballs
StockFood - Alessandro Guerani/Riser/Getty Images
Contrary to popular belief, spaghetti and meatballs are an American invention. This spaghetti and meatballs recipe features ricotta cheese, which give the meatballs great flavor and tender texture.

Makes 32 Small Meatballs

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes


  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (or 3/4 tsp table salt)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef (85% lean)
  • 1/3 cup plain breadcrumb
  • 1 (28-oz) jar prepared marinara sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 14-oz box dry spaghetti, cooked according to directions
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese


Saute the onion in 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the ricotta, parsley, egg, salt, and black pepper; whisk together until combined.

Add the beef and breadcrumbs and mix with your hands until just combined. Using wet fingers, roll the mixture into small meatballs. Brown meatballs in the skillet in 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Once browned well on all sides, add the tomato sauce, water, and red pepper flakes.

Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to med-low. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve meatballs and sauce over cooked pasta with the Parmesan cheese.
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