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Italian-Style Meatballs with Tomato Ragù


  • 10 oz. ground beef chuck
  • 10 oz. ground pork shoulder
  • 2 oz. prosciutto, minced
  • 2 oz. minced pork fat or pancetta
  • 1 1⁄4 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves, minced, plus more to garnish
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1⁄4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 7 slices white bread, finely ground in a food processor
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2⁄3 cup ricotta, drained in a strainer for 2 hours
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 6 tbsp. California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
  • 1⁄4 cup dry red wine
  • 4 cups canned tomato puree
  • 1 cup beef or veal stock
  • Finely grated Parmigiano- Reggiano for garnish


  1. In a large bowl, combine the beef, pork, prosciutto, pork fat, parsley, oregano, fennel seeds, chile flakes, cumin, allspice, bread crumbs, and season with salt. Using your fingers, mix the ingredients gently until combined, then set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the ricotta, milk, and eggs until smooth, then add to the meat mixture and gently mix until incorporated. Refrigerate the mixture for about 1 hour.
  2. Heat the oven to 300° F. Grease 2 large rimmed baking sheets with oil and set aside. Using a 2-oz. ice cream scoop, portion the mixture, roll into meatballs with your hands, and transfer to the greased baking sheets.
  3. Heat 3 tbsp. of the California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil in a 3-qt. high sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meatballs to a plate. Repeat with the remaining California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil and meatballs.
  4. Add the reserved meatballs back to the skillet along with any juices from the plate. Add the wine, increase the heat to high, and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and beef stock, bring to a boil, and tightly cover the skillet. Transfer to the oven and bake until the meatballs are tender and have absorbed some of the sauce, about 1 1⁄2 hours.
  5. To serve, divide the meatballs between 6 serving bowls, top each serving with some of the sauce, and garnish with Parmigiano- Reggiano and parsley.

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