Roasted Red Peppers with Sausage & Ricotta Meatballs

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We had this one tonight. It was pretty dang delicious and had such an interesting depth of flavor. I saw the recipe for Pork and Ricotta Meatballs in Cook’s Country and saw lots of potential in it, including ways to use those pesky sweet red peppers we had hiding in the veggie drawer. So here is my wildly adapted version of this recipe, broken into a few parts.

Sausage and Ricotta Meatballs
Serves 4-5

2 slices bread, torn into small pieces
4 oz (1/2 cup) ricotta
5 sweet italian sausage links (total about 20 oz), removed from casings
1/4 cup Parmesan Reggiano Cheese, grated
1 1/2 Tb dried parsley
1 egg
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 Tb salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest (1/2 lemon)

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Set wire rack on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or baking pad. Spray liberally with Pam.
2. Combine bread and ricotta in a large bowl and mix with a fork, let stand, and mix again, until a smooth paste forms, up to 10 minutes.
3. Add sausage, Parmesan, parsley, egg, shallot, garlic salt, pepper, and lemon zest to bread mixture and mix with hands until thoroughly combined.
4. Divide mixture into 16 equal portions. Roll meat between wet hands to form meatballs and sapce evenly on prepared wire rack.
5. Roast meatballs until browned and cooked through to about 155-165 degrees. Check after about 35 minutes. If not hot enough, put back in for another 10-15 minutes.

Roasted Red Peppers
Serves 4-5

4 sweet red peppers
1 Tb olive oil
pinch salt, pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon

1. Cut out the stems and remove the seeds from peppers. Slice length-wise.
2. Brush olive oil on peppers on all sides. And sprinkle with lemon juice.
3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Roast along with the meatballs and take out right as you notice the edges turning dark. These should be soft when poked with a fork.

Sauce
Serves 4-5

1/8 c olive oil
5 garlic gloves, smashed and peeled
2 medium tomatoes, cored and chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper

1. While meatballs and peppers are in the oven, combine oil and garlic in a dutch oven set over low heat and cook until garlic is soft and golden on all sides, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Stir in tomatoes. Cover with lid slightly ajar. and bring to simmer over medium high heat.
3. Squeeze lemon juice into sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until sauce has thickened somewhat. Turn off heat and let sit.
3. When you take the meatballs and peppers out of the oven, pour this into a food processor and process until smooth.

To plate, with an extra 1/4 cup grated Parmesan:
1. Lay down two roasted red pepper halves.
2. Sprinkle some Parmesan over peppers.
3. Place 4 meatballs on top of the peppers.
4. Ladle sauce over the meatballs.
5. Garnish with more Parmesan.

Then enjoy! I loved the garlic and lemon in this dish. The sausage was incredible. The meatballs were killer and could’ve been just fine on their own, but the sweetness of the red peppers and the sauce brought everything together.

Nutrition:
Weight Watchers Points: 12

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