This family recipe is one that restaurateur Frank Scibelli features on the menu of his Charlotte, North Carolina, restaurant, Mama Ricotta. He suggests garnishing the dish with crostini topped with fresh mozzarella.
- 4 slices white country bread, crusts removed and torn into 1-inch pieces.
- ½ cup packed parsley leaves
- ¼ cup packed sage leaves
- ¾ cup ricotta cheese
- 6 slices (about ⅛ pound) imported prosciutto, chopped
- ½ cup grated imported pecorino or Parmesan cheese, plus extra for shaving on top of the pasta
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup half and half (optional)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to season the pasta water, to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1¼ pounds ground turkey or chicken
- 1 pound ground pork
- ¼ cup vegetable or olive oil
- 1 pound angel hair pasta
- 3-4 cups marinara sauce
To make the meatballs: Preheat oven to 325°F. Place the bread, parsley and sage into a food processor and pulse to form medium-grain breadcrumbs, yields about 2 cups. Add the ricotta, prosciutto, pecorino, egg, half and half, salt and pepper and continue to pulse until just-blended.
In a medium bowl, combine the ground meat and the breadcrumb mixture and mix well. With your hands, form mixture into 2-inch meatballs, approximately 3 ounces each.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add several meatballs at a time, making sure not to overcrowd the pan and fry until golden brown on all sides. Transfer the seared meatballs to a baking dish and place in the preheated oven until the meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes.
To cook the pasta: While the meatballs are baking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Add the pasta to the boiling water and stir to prevent sticking. Cook the pasta until al dente, about 5 minutes, and then drain.
In a medium pot, heat the marinara sauce and add in the pasta, tossing until coated.
To serve: Divide the pasta among plates or bowls. Top with two meatballs and grate fresh pecorino on top. Serves 6.