Lamb Meatballs with Tomato, Ricotta and Mint

This dish transforms into a buffet of Italian subs for easy leftovers.

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A play on traditional meatballs and tomato sauce, this is a fun way to incorporate new flavors, such as mint and coriander.


Serves 4 to 6

For the Tomato Sauce:

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 28-oz cans of puréed Italian tomatoes

In a large pot, heat olive oil and add garlic cloves.

Once the garlic has browned slightly, add the oregano and tomatoes. Let simmer for one hour. Keep warm.

For the Lamb Meatballs:

2 lbs freshly ground lamb

1 lb Italian sausage, removed from casing

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

The Chef Behind the Recipe

Michael Friedman, executive chef at the Red Hen in Bloomingdale, has earned accolades for his Italian-influenced cuisine; with fresh ingredients and seasonal menu options, it’s the sort of modern comfort food that families crave.

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground

1 tablespoon fennel seeds, toasted and ground

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1 cup bread crumbs

4 eggs

3 teaspoons kosher salt

To Finish:

1 cup fresh cow’s-milk ricotta

Fresh mint leaves, torn by hand

Extra virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the ground lamb and sausage.

Chef’s Leftover Tip

“Your kids are going to love these delicious meatballs stuffed into fluffy ciabatta rolls and smothered with melted mozzarella cheese.”

In a sauté pan, heat oil and add onions. Sweat for 15 minutes until soft and translucent. Add garlic, and sweat another 5 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator.

Add the coriander, fennel, and rosemary to the ground meat.

Once cooled, add the onion mixture to the meat. Add the bread crumbs, eggs, and salt. Mix well by hand or in a standing mixer for 2 to 3 minutes on low.

Roll out the meatballs. A small ice-cream scooper works well, or a heaping tablespoon for each meatball. Place meatballs on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until just solidified.

Add meatballs to tomato sauce. Simmer for 45 minutes. Taste, and adjust seasonings.

Place the meatballs and sauce in bowls and top with torn mint, a healthy dollop of fresh ricotta, and a good drizzle of olive oil. Serve with some grilled bread to mop up all the sauce!