Tender Meatballs

I've documented my love of meatballs several times probably. I realized a few weeks back that I had completely cleaned out to my freezer stash of meatballs. It may seem like a weird dinner, but sometimes just a few meatballs is perfect are a long day with a grumbling stomach at the ready.

Instead of making the same recipe again, I did a little sleuthing to come up with a different variation to try. The essence of a meatball is the same: meat, breadcrumbs, roll into balls, bake, and eat. But the variety and creativity comes in what type of meat you pick and anything else you add into it.

I had bought all the necessary supplies about a week earlier, but just couldn't pull my act together. So when last Sunday rolled around, I pulled all my ingredients from the cabinets and freezer and got to work. My memory noted few similarities between the old and new editions - but I really like how these came out. I will say, these meatballs need to be accompanied with a sauce. There is something about them that necessitates being rolled around in tomatoes to fully complete them. Lastly, they are "less salty" more "herby" ... if that makes sense to you. I feel like my original recipe leans salty so this is perhaps better for you? Who knows. Just make them and eat them.

Here's how it goes.

(Step 1) Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl and moisten them with just enough milk just get them all moist. If you add a little too much, don't worry about it - just squeeze it out with the bottom of a spatula or spoon. Let them sit about 10-15 minutes, until the crumbs are very soft.

(Step 2) Finely dice the shallot and herbs. Add in an egg and the breadcrumbs.

(Step 3) Add the ricotta and salt and mix until well combined. Add the beef and pork and, with clean hands, mix gently until the ingredients are evenly incorporated. Don't hesitate, just put your hands right in that bowl.

(Step 4) Scoop or pinch off small amounts of the mixture and roll into meatballs, placing them on a plate or platter.

(Step 5) Place the meatballs on a foil-lined sheet pan and bake them in a preheated 400 degree oven for 25-35 minutes. Crack open a meatball to see if you think it's done!
Shopping List
1 cup panko flakes
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk
2-3 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup loosely-packed picked fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram leaves (I used dried Marjoram)
1 tsp thyme
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup fresh ricotta, drained if very wet
2-3 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 cup diced pancetta
2 pound ground pork

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