- ⅓ cup whole milk
- 1½ cup fresh, untoasted coarse breadcrumbs
- 1 pound ground beef, pork and veal in whatever ratio you prefer
- 2 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated plus more for passing
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup flat leaf parsley, minced
- salt & pepper as needed
- 1 cup vegetable oil, plus more as needed
- 1 pound ricotta cheese
- 1 pound dried egg fettuccine
- 6 cup prepared tomato sauce
- ½ pound mozzarella, chilled then grated
Make the meatballs: Add the milk and fresh breadcrumbs to a large mixing bowl. Let them sit together about 10 minutes until most of the milk is absorbed. Add the ground meats, garlic, ½ cup Parmesan, 1 large egg lightly beaten, ¼ cup parsley, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Using your hands blend the ingredients together until barely combined. Do not overmix.
Pinch off a small amount of the mixture, and rolling it between your palms, form it tiny meatballs. Less than a teaspoon each. Ideally they will about 3/4-inch in diameter. Repeat will all of the meat mixture.
Heat the oil in a large cast iron or non-stick skillet set over medium heat. The oil should be hot but not smoking. Add the meatballs to the hot pan in batches small enough to not overcrowd them. They should be able to freely roll around the skillet as you shake it to fry the meatballs on all sides and keep them from sticking. About 3 minutes total. Using a slotted spoon transfer the cooked meatballs to a paper towel lined tray. Repeat until all the meatballs are browned, adding more oil to the skillet if necessary.
Make the filling: In a small bowl mix ricotta, 1 large egg, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, ¼ cup parsley, ¼ teaspoon salt until well combined.
Assemble and bake the pasta: Place the oven rack in the center position. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, about 3 minutes, to al dente. Drain the pasta in a colander. Rinse and drain, and rinse and drain again.
Spread 2 cups of the prepared tomato sauce evenly across the bottom of a 3-quart glass or ceramic baking dish. Arrange ⅓ of the pasta evenly over the sauce. Top this with all of the meatballs in an even layer. Make another even layer each of 2 cups tomato sauce and ⅓ of the pasta, then spread the filling over it all in an even layer. Top with half of the mozzarella, the remaining noodles, the remaining 2 cups of tomato sauce. Then the final layer is the remaining mozzarella. Make sure to pull some of the fettuccine above the cheese here and there so that it will get very brown and crisp during cooking.
Cover loosely with foil and bake 10 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake about 25 more minutes, until the top is well browned and the sauce is bubbly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool about 20 minutes before serving with extra Parmesan passed at the table.