Ricotta Stuffed Meatballs

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I got the inspiration to make this the other night while I was flipping channels on my remote, I came across a show on Food Network it was either “Unique Eats” or “The Best Thing I Ever Ate“, I can’t tell you which one it was but the girl was just raving about these Ricotta Stuffed Meatballs that she ate at some restaurant.
What caught my attention was the brilliant way in which the Chef stuffed them, he did it by freezing balls of ricotta, placing them inside the meat and them forming the rest of the meat all around it.

I couldn’t wait to try out his method, it sounded so easy!
Martha once had someone on her show who baked the meatballs first then took a apple corer and cut through the center of the meatball after which he took a pastry bag filled with ricotta and squeezed it into the hole, sounds like a lot of work to me plus you’re wasting some of the meatball, and besides I wanted my ricotta cooked.

There was no recipe, I just winged it, you’ll be amazed how easy it is to do.
Mix up your ricotta in a separate bowl, I added romano cheese, salt, pepper, chopped basil and parsley to mine, no egg.
The size of your meatballs will determine the size of your ricotta balls, I made a few giant meatballs, like one per person size and I also made regular sized ones, so I rolled my ricotta accordingly, placed the balls on a parchment lined baking sheet and into the freezer they went for about an hour.

While you’re waiting mix up your meat, I usually always add, garlic, onion, egg, grated cheese, moist bread, salt, pepper and fresh chopped parsley to mine.

When the ricotta balls are frozen and ready to go, take some meat in the palm of your hand, place the ball of ricotta inside, then cover it with more meat to form a ball, that’s it!

Although it’s hard to see the perspective in this photo, these were the giant meatballs I made, one was enough per person to fill you up.
I served these big ones with a salad and roasted cauliflower for our dinner.

I also rolled up a tray of regular sized meatballs, I was curious to see if it would work and the ricotta would stay tucked inside after they cooked, and It did perfectly!

Bake them in a hot oven 400F – 425F
until done, of course that it will all depend on the size you make your meatballs.

Let them cool down a bit before you try to stick your fork inside
otherwise the ricotta will just run out. Trust me, I know!

Spoon some freshly made marinara over the top, dowse it with grated cheese
now grab your fork!

I’m telling you my dear friends, this…was …
Buon Appetito!

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  1. How long do you cook the meatballs that are about the size of a fist?

  2. This is probably a dumb question, but what do you mean by moist bread?

  3. Good grief! How could they not be good? They look absolutely gorgeous. Will try them soon.

  4. Hi Marie,
    I made your ricotta stuffed meatballs yesterday and they were delicious . I did have a problem with some of the meatballs with a little of the ricotta oozing out. It was such a nice change of not cooking meatballs in the sauce. I used 7% lean ground beef, and whole milk Polly O ricotta. Thanks for such a great recipe. Today I am making your Marsala Pork Chops.
    I look forward for more delicious recipes.

  5. Blessingpoetry says

    I’m going to make these, and some home made garlic knots…and turn them into meatball sliders. These look amazing! Just gorgeous!!

  6. These look amazing! Can’t wait to try making my meatballs like this!

    Lori (All That Splatters)

  7. I usually cook my meatballs in homemade sauce. Do you think that would work for these? Or would they fall apart? I cook them on very low heat for 3 hours.

  8. I’m drooling here… these look amazing!

  9. Marie, I cant wait to try your recipe. The show on food network you would talking about was that aired this was Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. The resturant is called Rigoletto Italian Bakery and Cafe located in Virginia Beach, VA. It is one of my girls and my favorite places to eat. We were very fortunate in this area as Guy visited many of our local places. I love your website and blog!!

  10. We have a friend that’s been bugging us to cook him a big surf & turf meal. We’re going to do these meatballs as the “turf” and the crab stuffed shrimp as the “surf!” Thanks so much for posting this!!

  11. Frozen ricotta balls inside the meat, this is genius.
    And Marie, you are the Queen of Ricotta!

  12. oh my goodness why wouldn’t one stuff a meatball with ricotta!? Delicious!!!

  13. Thanks for the advice, Marie. I will suspend the ricotta in cheesecloth for a day before using it next time. And, when the balls are frozen, ice crystals will form from the excess water, thus gravy in the pan! These are my next savory appetizer, too. Cheers!! Ellen
    P.S. I made your (lemon) ricotta cookies, and they were dynomite. A hit with my coworkers! 🙂

  14. Ellen, I wrote back to Marji, thinking that maybe it was her ricotta, homemade is usually a little softer. Ricotta is funny, sometimes I buy it and there’s alot of liquid in the container, sometimes not. The more commercial brands that are not sold in deli’s are usually dryer, that might have been your problem, the ricotta being too wet. The other thing is making sure you really enclose the meat around the ricotta ball packing it like a snowball all around. Try again using dryer ricotta it really does work, as far as the meat goes, I used a very lean ground chuck and even turkey and it all worked fine, I actually love the turkey ones! Hope this helps.

    • I love the idea of stuffing a meatball with ricotta cheese! Kind of a noodle-less lasagna. I will have to try this very soon! Have you ever tried stuffing a meatball with spaghetti and mozzarella? I have made those several times and they are wonderful. The process is quite simple. Email me for the recipe I would very much like to share

  15. Sorry…Marie! It’s early here in CA…So sorry. Ellen

  16. I also tried these yesterday, and had a similar result at Marji’s. I think it may have been that the oven wasn’t hot enough, and that I used ground chuck from the market. I did mix in a bit of 7% sirloin grind…Lydia, can you let us know what kind of meat you used? And, you bet, these were delicious even with the ooze! I had to stop myself from eating too many. Great flavor, even without marinara. Thanks again for a wonderful recipe!

  17. Oh yum…This looks just heavenly…!

  18. This is brilliant! I can’t wait to try it! Your sauce is so bright and beautiful looking! Have you ever posted your recipe? What kind of tomatoes do you use? Brand?

  19. What a great idea and how moist and flavorful these look!

  20. These looked so amazing, I had to try it. The process of making them was pretty easy, but then when I baked them, most of the meatballs kind of cracked open and oozed quite a bit of the ricotta out. Then, as they sat and cooled, quite a bit of broth type liquid came out too. Does anyone have an idea why this would happen? I did use homemade ricotta, but it drained for several hours. I ground my own beef also, using boneless beef ribs. Could it just have been lack of enough compression forming the meatballs? Anyway, even the broken ones were still delicious.

  21. I never would have thought of putting ricotta inside a meatball, but they are very good. The flavor of the ricotta witht he meatball, Outstanding. Gotta make some more!

  22. WoW REEBES;
    you are the BEST food
    ITALIAN cook EVER…
    LOVE YA brother IN law

  23. This looks super delicious! I bet those little mozzarella balls would be easy to use as well,


  24. I didn’t think it was possible to make meatballs even better…but you figured out the way. I can’t wait to try them. Wonder how it would work if you fried the meatballs instead of baked them?

  25. This is brilliant, Marie! I am going to try it using my eggplant-tofu ball recipe. (I’m with Claudia, Nirvana is indeed finding a hidden center of ricotta – or mozzarella!) Great recipe.

  26. Freezing balls of ricotta and stuffed in a meatball..Ilike the idea! I think I can eat with a rucola salad.

  27. Must represent the Italians with the Lovely Blog Award: http://theaddictedbaker.blogspot.com/2011/03/and-award-goes-to.html
    Keep up the great work. Ciao!

  28. What a great idea. And, I usually don’t make meatballs because I try not to eat too much pasta, so serving them with salad and a roasted veggie sounds perfect.

  29. When I saw your post title Ithought, “How is she doing that?” and then you had the genius idea of freezing the ricotta. Great idea and way better than the other way of using a pastry bag. That seems tedious as well as making the ricotta less cooked.

    Utterly delicious looking and I want a big plateful right now.

  30. Bye bye arancini, welcome ricotta meatballs!!

    My gastronomic trip to Venice

  31. Well, now, if this just isn’t meatball heaven, I don’t know what is. Brilliant, Marie!

  32. Those meatballs look fabulous!

  33. These I will try. I think I saw the same concept in a magazine, and it caught my eye. I think I would try adding basil inside the ricotta instead of the meat – and see how that would work too.

  34. I’d love the element of surprise if you don’t tell anyone thst you’ve stuffed the meatballs and let them find out when they slice into them! They look scrumptious!

  35. oh my word, those look amazing!!! I can not wait to try this out!!!

  36. Love the surprise of cheese inside. Yum!

  37. Can’t wait to try these–thank you so much. Yum!!

  38. I love, love learning new things and this is such a brilliant, yet simple one.

  39. oh wow! I LOVE ricotta and I LOVE meatballs. I am so going to try this!!!

  40. Yum these look fantastic!!

    Do you have your marinara recipe posted? I need to start making fresh sauce and keeping it stocked in the freezer.

  41. Every once in awhile my mother used to surprise us by filling her meatballs with ricotta. It’s been a long time since I’ve had one, and yours look very fine indeed.

  42. Thanks for sharing the idea of freezing the ricotta which obviously makes it much easier to form the meatball around. Yours look delicious, but everything coming out of your kitchen does!

  43. For me Nirvana is finding hidden gifts of ricotta. I never would have done it the “Martha” way but you bet I will be doing it “Marie’s” way this week. I’m making a huge meal right now but I think I will freeze some ricotta balls while I’m prepping.

  44. Oh wow – these sound so good, I want to run into the kitchen and make some.

  45. Marie – I also saw a couple of shows devoted to meatballs. These look delicious. I will have to try them. Your “zucchini coins and fettuccine” is on the menu for this coming week. xo,

  46. good lord woman!
    me with my stuffed 1/4 pound cookies and you with your stuffed meatballs. we should open a food truck!

  47. Yes, you are clever and these look so good. Thanks.

  48. I just love this idea!!!! I love dishes that surprise me. It’s like having a birthday every day!

  49. Yay, a post from you!
    with little surprises inside!

  50. Oh you are so darn clever. I was wondering where you’ve been lately but now that I see these goodies – they were definitely worth the wait.


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