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Monster Ricotta Balls - Kid Friendly Recipe

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Added by cooking in Italian Cooking
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If you want to lure kids to the table, delight them with these monster ricotta balls: a great dish, both in taste and presentation! Find this and many more recipes with pictures on the English version of the Giallozafferano App http://itunes.apple.com/app/giallozafferano-recipes/id384387249?mt=8

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Start by making the ricotta balls, you’ll see, they’ll become a family favourite, they are very easy to prepare and taste great: take the bread, crust removed – stale bread would be even better – and soak in milk; I’m using rustic bread because I like it better. While the bread is soaking, put the ricotta cheese in the bowl – cow’s milk ricotta is more kid-friendly – add the grated cheese, one egg, a pinch of salt and a pinch of grated nutmeg; then lightly squeeze the bread and add to the bowl. If the mixture is too soft, you can add the breadcrumbs. The mixture is ready, it’s nice and soft, now roll into balls about the size of an eyeball: you can wet your hands with water to prevent them from sticking. Ricotta balls are popular in the South of Italy, and they are often cooked directly in the sauce, which is then used for pasta.
Once all the ricotta balls are rolled, move on to the mashed potatoes: peel and cut them into chunks. The most important step in making perfect mashed potatoes is using a mealy variety: red potatoes work well. It’s time to cook the potatoes and the ricotta balls.
In a pan, sauté the finely chopped shallot in extra virgin olive oil until very soft. After about 10-15 minutes over very low heat, add the potatoes, cover with the broth and cook over medium heat for about 30-40 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed by the potatoes. Add a pinch of salt. Heat another pan with a little oil… add the tomato puree, a pinch of salt and the basil leaves and cook for about 15 minutes until thickened. In summer, when tomatoes are in season, you can make your own canned tomato sauce, healthier and more flavourful.
While the tomato sauce is simmering, you can cook the ricotta balls: bring the vegetable broth to a boil, drop in the balls and cook for a few minutes; don’t overcook them, they are supposed to be soft. Make sure your broth is simmering or the ricotta balls may fall apart!
Tomato sauce, ricotta balls and mashed potatoes, that’s all I need: make a bed of tomato sauce, add an eyeball, and a pupil to make it more realistic - black olives are fine as well. Use a pastry bag to pipe out a ghost shape; here’s the mouth, and the eyes, with black sesame seeds, and why not, two arms. And while I’m plating up, let’s see together the ingredients needed for this recipe!

Ingredients
For 20 balls
- ¾ cup (175 g) of cow’s milk ricotta
- ½ cup (50 g) of grated cheese
- 2,5 oz (70 g) of bread, crust removed
- ½ cup (125 ml) of fresh milk
- 1 egg
- 4 ½ tbsp (30 g) of breadcrumbs
- 1 pinch of grated nutmeg
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 pints (1 lt) of vegetable broth

For the mashed potatoes
- 1 ⅓ lbs (600 g) of potatoes
- 1 shallot
- 1 ⅔ pints (800 ml) of vegetable broth
- a little extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pinch of salt

For the tomato sauce
- 2 cups (500 g) of tomato puree
- a little extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pinch of salt
- 3 basil leaves

For garnishing
- green or black pitted olives
- black sesame seeds

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