Pork & Ricotta Meatballs with Creamy Polenta & Broccolini

Pork & Ricotta Meatballs

with Creamy Polenta & Broccolini

25 MIN
4 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

In this recipe, we’re adding a special ingredient to our pork meatballs: silky ricotta. The cheese lends the meat lighter-than-air texture, while adding plenty of savory flavor. After browning the meatballs, we’re finishing them in an aromatic tomato sauce. With creamy polenta and tender, mildly sweet broccolini (a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale), this meal celebrates the simple pleasures of classic Italian food.

Get Cooking
  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    615 Cals (est.)
fresh
ingredients
Pork & Ricotta Meatballs with Creamy Polenta & Broccolini
Title
time-saving
tips & techniques
Prepare the ingredients:
1 Prepare the ingredients:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Cut off and discard the bottom inch of the broccolini stalks; halve the stalks crosswise. Peel and mince the garlic. Finely chop the parsley leaves and stems.

Cook the broccolini:
2 Cook the broccolini:

Add the broccolini to the pot of boiling water. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until the stalks are tender when pierced with a knife. Drain thoroughly and set aside in a warm place. Wipe out the pot.

Form the meatballs:
3 Form the meatballs:

While the broccolini cooks, in a large bowl, combine the ground pork, ricotta cheese, breadcrumbs, spice blend, parsley, half the Parmesan cheese and half the garlic; season with salt and pepper. Gently mix until just combined. Using your hands, form the mixture into 24 equal-sized meatballs, each about 1 inch in diameter.

Brown the meatballs:
4 Brown the meatballs:

In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Carefully drain off and discard any excess oil from the pan.

Cook the polenta:
5 Cook the polenta:

While the meatballs cook, in the pot used to cook the broccolini, combine 4 cups of water and a big pinch of salt. Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, slowly add the polenta, whisking to break up any clumps. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes, or until thickened and tender. (If the polenta seems too thick, add up to ¼ cup of water to achieve your desired consistency.) Remove from heat and add the butter; whisk until thoroughly combined and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside in a warm place.

Finish & serve your dish:
6 Finish & serve your dish:

While the polenta cooks, add the remaining garlic to the pan of meatballs; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the crushed tomatoes and ¼ cup of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and the meatballs are cooked through. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the cooked polenta between 4 bowls. Top with the finished meatballs and sauce and cooked broccolini. Garnish with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

1 Prepare the ingredients:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Cut off and discard the bottom inch of the broccolini stalks; halve the stalks crosswise. Peel and mince the garlic. Finely chop the parsley leaves and stems.

2 Cook the broccolini:

Add the broccolini to the pot of boiling water. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until the stalks are tender when pierced with a knife. Drain thoroughly and set aside in a warm place. Wipe out the pot.

Cook the broccolini:
Form the meatballs:
3 Form the meatballs:

While the broccolini cooks, in a large bowl, combine the ground pork, ricotta cheese, breadcrumbs, spice blend, parsley, half the Parmesan cheese and half the garlic; season with salt and pepper. Gently mix until just combined. Using your hands, form the mixture into 24 equal-sized meatballs, each about 1 inch in diameter.

4 Brown the meatballs:

In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Carefully drain off and discard any excess oil from the pan.

Brown the meatballs:
Cook the polenta:
5 Cook the polenta:

While the meatballs cook, in the pot used to cook the broccolini, combine 4 cups of water and a big pinch of salt. Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, slowly add the polenta, whisking to break up any clumps. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes, or until thickened and tender. (If the polenta seems too thick, add up to ¼ cup of water to achieve your desired consistency.) Remove from heat and add the butter; whisk until thoroughly combined and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside in a warm place.

6 Finish & serve your dish:

While the polenta cooks, add the remaining garlic to the pan of meatballs; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the crushed tomatoes and ¼ cup of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and the meatballs are cooked through. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the cooked polenta between 4 bowls. Top with the finished meatballs and sauce and cooked broccolini. Garnish with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

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