Ricotta-Filled Meatballs With Fennel and Chili Recipe

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Ricotta-Filled Meatballs With Fennel and Chili
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  1. Put the ricotta in a cheesecloth-lined sieve set over a bowl; let drain in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, diced fennel, onion and garlic. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes; let cool completely.
  3. Meanwhile, put the bread in a bowl, add the milk and soak about 5 minutes. Mix the beef, veal and pork in a large bowl. Add the onion mixture, egg, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, fennel seeds, pecorino, parmesan and parsley. Drain the bread, add it to the meat mixture and mix until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Mix the ricotta and salt to taste in a bowl; transfer to a pastry bag with a round tip. Form the meat mixture into 24 meatballs (slightly larger than golf balls). Make a 1-inch indentation in each meatball with your thumb, then pipe in about 1 teaspoon ricotta and form the meat around it to cover the cheese.
  5. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook until golden brown on all sides, about 7 minutes; set aside. Warm the tomato sauce in a large saucepan over medium heat. Put the meatballs in the tomato sauce and simmer until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  6. Divide the meatballs and sauce among bowls; serve over bucatini, if desired. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with a pinch each of red pepper flakes and fennel pollen, if desired.
  7. Photograph by Joseph DeLeo
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Nutrition Facts

Per ServingPer 100 g
Amount Per 1 Serving
Calories 307.24 Kcal (1286 kJ)
Calories from fat 189.03 Kcal
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 32%
Cholesterol 37.01mg 12%
Sodium 1428.04mg 60%
Potassium 422.23mg 9%
Total Carbs 20.56g 7%
Sugars 8.67g 35%
Dietary Fiber 2.3g 9%
Protein 8.77g 18%
Vitamin C 7.6mg 13%
Iron 1.4mg 8%
Calcium 121.6mg 12%
Amount Per 100 g
Calories 192.91 Kcal (808 kJ)
Calories from fat 118.69 Kcal
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13.19g 32%
Cholesterol 23.24mg 12%
Sodium 896.65mg 60%
Potassium 265.11mg 9%
Total Carbs 12.91g 7%
Sugars 5.44g 35%
Dietary Fiber 1.44g 9%
Protein 5.51g 18%
Vitamin C 4.8mg 13%
Iron 0.9mg 8%
Calcium 76.4mg 12%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Find out how many calories should you eat.


  • salty
  • savory
  • bitter
  • sweet
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Recipe Tags

Weightwatchers Points

  • 7.4
  • 8

Good Points

  • saturated fat free

Bad Points

  • High in Sodium

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