Vodka Sauce Meatballs on Ricotta Toast.
These meatballs in vodka sauce are outstanding. Tender, juicy meatballs cooked in vodka sauce and served on toasted sourdough that is spread with ricotta cheese. Dreamy! Cozy and comforting and delicious.
My favorite classic December meal for 2021 is here!
If you’re looking for a meal that tastes AMAZING, well… I’ve got you.
Saucy meatballs, cheesy toast, fresh herbs, breadcrumbs. This is where it’s at.
Oh my gosh, so remember when I made those pesto meatball melts in the summer?! We really LOVED those. They were such a different and fun way to enjoy pesto. And meatballs! And toast, of course.
So after I made meatballs in vodka sauce, I wanted to find the best way to serve them. They are almost a little too rich for pasta if that makes sense. At least all the time – just little too heavy. And while I have a lovely meatball salad (yes, it’s a thing) in The Pretty Dish, I knew that a salad wasn’t the route I wanted to go.
Enter little ricotta toasts! These are SO fun to eat, share, serve and enjoy. They are delish.
I always love sharing a meal like this around the holiday season. Things like my bacon meatballs with bucatini and cheesy bucatini pie. Even though I grew up with zero italian roots and never really experienced GOOD italian food until much later, I always love a hearty comforting meal with red sauce in December.
And one of the reason’s I love the meatballs so much is because they are versatile. Yes, of course you can have them with pasta even though I said no above. You can make sandwiches, throw them on salads, serve them on pizza – the possibilities are endless. And also delicious.
So while the meatballs are the star of the show, the toasted sourdough and ricotta comes into play too. Let’s get to it.
Because there are sooo many reasons that these are incredible.
- First, the meatballs. For the meatballs, I use my classic recipe but make fresh breadcrumbs and also add chopped sun dried tomatoes. It just adds something EXTRA. They are tender and juicy and just absolutely perfect. You can use beef or pork or even ground turkey.
- The sauce! I love using my vodka sauce for just about anything – like pizza or chicken parmesan. This vodka sauce comes together so easily. And quickly too. It makes just about anything taste fabulous. It’s creamy and rich and silky and decadent.
- Sourdough toast, of course. What else needs to be said about this other than it’s perfect?
- Creamy ricotta cheese. You can use it straight from the tub, whip it or even make your own. There is no right or wrong here.
- I like to top everything with some fresh herbs like basil and parsley along with toasty breadcrumbs. You can use plain breadcrumbs or throw them in a skillet with some butter until golden.
The combination is so cozy and comforting. I love how satisfying the dish is. It’s a delicious lunch or even dinner – amazing when paired with a salad. It’s also a great app and yes, something you can throw together for guests on bite-sized pieces of toast!
Never not craving this.
Vodka Sauce Meatballs on Ricotta Toast
Vodka Sauce Meatballs on Ricotta Toast
- 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
- 3 tablespoons chopped sun dried tomatoes
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, like parsley or basil, plus more for serving
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- kosher salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 to 5 slices sourdough bread, cut in half
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup reserved pasta water, or substitution, listed below
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 shallot, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- salt and pepper
- ½ cup tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons vodka, (I like Tito’s)
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- ⅓ cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine the beef with the egg, tomatoes, garlic, breadcrumbs, cheese, herbs and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Mix to combine - but don’t overmix!
- Roll the mixture into meatballs - I like mine to be around 1-inch in size. I find that wetting your hands with cold water helps the meatballs come together smoothly.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs in a single layer and brown all over. Just cook until they are golden brown, then toss them and cook on the other sides. Remove any excess grease.
- Make the vodka sauce in the same skillet. To make a starchy pasta water without cooking pasta, combine 1 cup of water with ½ teaspoon of cornstarch and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring it to a boil in a separate small saucepan, then turn off the heat!
- Heat the butter in the large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, stir in the shallots and garlic with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onions soften. Add in the tomato paste and stir, cooking for 5 minutes. The color will darken - this is where the flavor is!
- Stream in the vodka and stir, scraping the brown bits and flavor from the bottom. Stir in ½ cup of the reserved (or makeshift) pasta water. Stir in the heavy cream and parmesan, stirring until the cheese melts. Taste and season the sauce with more salt and pepper if needed.
- Add the meatballs to the sauce. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. This is when I toast the bread! Place the sliced bread on a baking sheet and spray with some olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes until golden and toasty.
- Once the meatballs are done and bread is toasted, slather the bread with a few spoonfuls of ricotta cheese. Top with a meatball or 2 or 3! Sprinkle with fresh herbs and breadcrumbs if you wish! Serve immediately.
That’s the perfect bite.