Try serving these meatballs with braised greens for a healthy alternative to pasta.
- 2 ounce crustless rustic bread (slightly stale, torn into 1‑inch chunks)
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 1 pound ground beef (preferably 25% fat)
- ½ cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste, but be bold)
- 2–3 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- 3 teaspoon fennel pollen (may also use ground fennel seed)
- salt and pepper (as needed)
- 4 tablespoon canola oil (divided)
- fresh oregano leaves (as garnish)
- sea salt (as garnish)
In a bowl, soak the bread in the milk until the milk is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the beef, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, lemon zest, crushed red pepper, parsley, fennel pollen, kosher salt and black pepper. Squeeze any excess milk from the bread and spread the bread around the bowl. Mix the meat mixture well, then roll it into eighteen 1 ½‑inch balls; transfer to a baking sheet.
In a cast-iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil. Cook half of the meatballs over moderate heat, turning, until golden brown and no longer pink within, about 15 minutes. Repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil and meatballs.
Serve garnished with Parmigiano, chopped oregano and sea salt.