April 23, 2024

Mollz Ballz

Recipe: Molly Baz

“At first glance, these look like regular meatballs, but the sneaky additions of mint, ricotta and spicy Italian sausage make them special.” – Molly Baz


  • 2 large eggs
  • 12 garlic cloves, divided
  • 1/2 cup fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 oz. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 oil-packed anchovy fillets, plus 1 1/2 tsp of their oil
  • 1 1/4 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 bunch mint
  • 1/2 lb. spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 3/4 lb. 80% lean ground beef
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 28 oz. can tomato purée
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Garlic-rubbed toast, for serving


Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Make Meatballs

  1. In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, 6 grated garlic cloves, ricotta cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 1/2 tsp salt, anchovy oil from the tin and lots of pepper.
  2. Add panko breadcrumbs, whisking until well hydrated by egg mixture.
  3. Finely chop leaves of about half of bunch of mint. Add chopped mint and spicy Italian sausage to panko mixture, and work with hands until meat is evenly distributed. Add ground beef and work together gently until well mixed.
  4. Divide meat into 8 equal portions and roll them into balls — they’ll be about the size of tennis balls. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet or large plate.

Make Sauce

  1. Thinly slice remaining 6 garlic cloves.
  2. In large Dutch oven, heat a few more glugs of olive oil over high heat. Add meatballs in single layer and cook, turning every minute or so, until browned in most areas, 6 to 7 minutes total. Transfer to plate. The meatballs will still be raw in the centre but will finish cooking in sauce later on. Pour off all but 2 tbsp of fat from skillet.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Add chopped onions, sliced garlic, oil-packed anchovy fillets and pinch or two of red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring often, until onions are translucent and just barely beginning to brown at edges, 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Stir in tomato purée, butter and a few more mint sprigs (reserving some for garnish). Season sauce with salt — it’ll need quite a bit. Bring sauce to a simmer, then reduce heat as needed to maintain a very gentle simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, 4 to 6 minutes.
  5. Nestle meatballs back into sauce, cover pot and cook over medium heat, turning meatballs occasionally, for 8 minutes. Uncover pot and continue to cook, reducing heat as necessary if sauce is boiling too rapidly, until meatballs are springy or bouncy when pressed with your fingers and cooked through, and sauce has reduced, 8 to 10 minutes.

Serve Meatballs

  1. Pick leaves of remaining mint, scatter over balls with more parm and drizzle generously with olive oil. Serve with garlic-rubbed toast, if desired.

Recipe from More is More ©2023 by Molly Baz. Photographs ©2023 by PEDEN + MUNK. Illustrations ©2023 Claire McCracken. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House