Ricotta Meatballs in Creamy Spinach Alfredo Sauce

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Ricotta Meatballs in Creamy Spinach Alfredo Sauce

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Indulge in a delectable twist on classic meatballs with our Chicken Ricotta Meatballs in Creamy Spinach Alfredo Sauce recipe! These tender meatballs, bursting with flavors of onion, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese, are nestled in a luxurious creamy spinach Alfredo sauce that will tantalize your taste buds. Perfect for a cozy family dinner or a special occasion, this dish is sure to become a favorite.

Why Make Chicken Ricotta Meatballs

These meatballs are a delightful departure from the ordinary, combining the lean protein of chicken or turkey with creamy ricotta and a medley of savory seasonings. Paired with a velvety Alfredo sauce enriched with bacon and spinach, this dish offers a satisfyingly rich and flavorful experience that will leave you craving more.

How to Make Chicken Ricotta Meatballs

Prep the Meatballs:

  1. Soak breadcrumbs in milk for 5 minutes until absorbed.
  2. In a large bowl, combine soaked breadcrumbs with onion, minced garlic, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, ground chicken (or turkey), ricotta, egg, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and salt. Mix until well combined.
  3. Form the mixture into meatballs, approximately golf ball-sized.

Cook the Meatballs:

  1. In a large skillet, cook the meatballs over medium heat until browned on all sides and cooked through.
  2. Transfer the cooked meatballs to a plate and set aside.

Prepare the Creamy Sauce:

  1. In the same skillet, cook bacon strips until crispy. Remove bacon, chop, and set aside, leaving the fat in the skillet.
  2. Add butter to the skillet and melt over medium heat. Then, sauté minced garlic until fragrant, infusing the butter with its aroma.
  3. Pour in heavy cream, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and stir in grated Parmesan cheese until melted and smooth.
  4. Add baby spinach to the sauce, cooking until wilted. Return the meatballs to the skillet, ensuring they’re coated evenly with the sauce. This allows the meatballs to absorb the sauce’s flavors and finish cooking until desired doneness. Sprinkle chopped bacon over the top.

Serving Suggestions

Once the meatballs are heated through and the sauce is gently bubbling, sprinkle with fresh parsley. Serve hot, preferably over pasta, rice, or with crusty bread to soak up the creamy sauce.

Storage Info

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave until warmed through before serving.

Some Techniques or Tips

  • For extra flavor, you can add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the sauce for a subtle kick.
  • Ensure the meatballs are cooked through by checking that they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) with a meat thermometer.

FAQs about Chicken Ricotta Meatballs

  1. Can I use ground beef instead of chicken or turkey?
    • While this recipe is specifically designed for chicken or turkey, you can certainly use ground beef if you prefer. Just keep in mind that it may alter the flavor profile slightly.
  2. Can I make the meatballs ahead of time?
    • Yes, you can prepare the meatballs in advance and store them in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before cooking. Alternatively, you can freeze the uncooked meatballs for up to 3 months, thawing them in the refrigerator before cooking.
  3. Is there a substitute for heavy cream in the sauce?
    • If you prefer a lighter option, you can use half-and-half or whole milk instead of heavy cream. However, keep in mind that the sauce may not be as rich and creamy.

Ricotta Meatballs in Creamy Spinach Alfredo Sauce

Ingredients:

For the Meatballs:

  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (Italian or regular)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1.5 pounds (700 grams) ground chicken or turkey
  • 6 ounces whole milk ricotta (approximately 3/4 cup)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt, to taste

For the Creamy Sauce:

  • 6 bacon strips
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (35% fat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 5 ounces (150 grams) baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Soak breadcrumbs in milk for 5 minutes until absorbed. In a large bowl, combine soaked breadcrumbs with onion, minced garlic, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, ground chicken (or turkey), ricotta, egg, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and salt. Mix until well combined.
  2. Form the mixture into meatballs, approximately golf ball-sized.
  3. In a large skillet, cook the meatballs over medium heat until browned on all sides and cooked through. Transfer the cooked meatballs to a plate and set aside.
  4. In the same skillet, cook bacon strips until crispy. Remove bacon, chop, and set aside, leaving the fat in the skillet.
  5. Add butter to the skillet and melt over medium heat. Then, sauté minced garlic until fragrant, infusing the butter with its aroma.
  6. Pour in heavy cream, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and stir in grated Parmesan cheese until melted and smooth.
  7. Add baby spinach to the sauce, cooking until wilted. Return the meatballs to the skillet, ensuring they’re coated evenly with the sauce. This allows the meatballs to absorb the sauce’s flavors and finish cooking until desired doneness. Sprinkle chopped bacon over the top.
  8. Once the meatballs are heated through and the sauce is gently bubbling, sprinkle with fresh parsley. Serve hot, preferably over pasta, rice, or with crusty bread to soak up the creamy sauce.

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