The last really good meatball I remember eating was at the home of my Italian American neighbor Angela Vita when I was about 15 years old. I've made meatballs since, all of them dense, heavy disappointments, no matter how hard I tried mixing with a "light hand." This time, when the craving for meatballs hit, I remembered recipes I've seen lately that incorporate ricotta cheese right into the meatball. These ricotta balls were made with pork, veal, or a combination of both. Would it work with beef?
It did! The meat mixture with the fresh ricotta folded in was so light it was almost mousselike, yet, after baking, the meatballs held together remarkably well. The finished balls were incredibly light and juicy, rich and flavorful. Served in a quick tomato sauce, with some extra ricotta dolloped on top, they were almost as good as Angela's.