Prep 1 hr
Cook 30 mins
Rachael Ray's Big Orange Book
- 6 slices white bread, torn into pieces
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 (28 ounce) can san marzano tomatoes
- 1 (15 ounce) can san marzano tomatoes
- 2 1⁄2 lbs ground sirloin
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (a generous handful)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
- 1⁄3 cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped
- 1⁄4 cup currants
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 loaf ciabatta
- 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
- 1⁄4 cup fresh basil leaf, shredded
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Place the torn bread in a small bowl and pour the milk over it; set aside to soak.
- Place a roasting pan on the counter; add a healthy drizzle of oil, about 1 tablespoon.
- Add the canned tomatoes to the pan and crush with a potato masher or a wooden spoon.
- Season the tomatoes liberally with salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, using your hands, combine the ground sirloin, the remaining tablespoon oil, the garlic, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes, allspice, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pine nuts, currants, egg, and salt and pepper.
- Squeeze out the excess milk from the soaking bread (it should be loose and in small pieces), then add it to the meat mixture; discard the milk.
- Form the meatball mixture into 12 baseball-size balls, each about 3 inches in diameter, and place them in the roasting pan, nestling them into the tomatoes.
- Roast until the meatballs are brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
- Place the ciabatta, unwrapped, in the oven to heat when the meatballs are just about done.
- Tear the warm, crusty bread into large pieces.
- Remove the meatballs from the oven and arrange the torn pieces of bread in and around the meatballs and sauce.
- Stir the ricotta cheese together with the basil, season with salt and pepper, and pass at the table.
- Complement each serving of 2 large meatballs with 2-3 tablespoons of cool ricotta spooned along side.