Ricotta and oregano meatballs by Ottolenghi


Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 50 minutes

Serves: Serve 4 :

London or in my opinion “the amazing city of London”, is a city that I adored for several reasons, its vibe, architecture, history and its diversity, and I would like to return there as soon as possible, especially the summer.

Last year we spent two weeks there, it was mid October, it was a bit cold, at least for us not for the Londoners who were walking around in t-shirts.  But we were delighted, considering that in Dubai it’s hot most of the year.

The first Sunday we decided to go to Saint James park, but first direction to brick lane food market for lunch. It’s one of London’s most famous street food markets. You can find about everything and of course I tasted almost everything. My favorite were the dumplings from dumpling shacks and Italian meatballs from an Italian stand which looked so delicious. 

when I returned to Dubai, I wanted to make these delicious Italian meatball. So I started my Google search for “Italian meatballs”, I tried several recipes but nothing like the ones from the market.

Months later I bought Ottolenghi’s “simple” book yes him again, and I came across a recipe for ricotta and oregano meatballs. I made them for lunch and served with pasta. The first bite, I jumped to the ceiling, as I realised they tasted exactly the same as from the market. I see myself in London on this wonderful Sunday eating these delicious meatballs at the brick lane food market and then we took a stroll in Saint James park, the children jumping in the puddles and chasing those poor squirrels (who must have certainly complained😅), It was an amazing day.

 I was there again, thanks to these light, fluffy  and very tender meatballs w a perfectly Italian dish full with London memories.

If you are a fan of Italian cuisine, you must try this recipe, you will not regret it.

And besides being delicious, this dish is super easy to make and doesn’t take a lot of time. If you like this kind of dish, check here for cod cakes in tomato sauce.

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Ricotta and oregano meatballs by Ottolenghi

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Serves: Serve 4 :


  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 330 g onions, 1 large finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 20 g oregano leaves, chopped plus extra for serve
  • 400 g tomatoes, 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • 500 g beef minced
  • 100 g breadcrumbs, freshly made
  • 250 g ricotta
  • 60 g parmesan , grated
  • 1 egg, large
  • 20 g parsley, chopped
  • salt and black pepper

Method :

Tomato sauce :

  • 1)

    First start with the tomato sauce. Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil a sauté pan and place on medium high heat. Add half the onion, half the garlic and halftime oregano and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring until the ons have softened without taking on colour.

    Add the tomatoes, half the stock, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Reduce the temperature to medium and cook for 0-15 minutes, stirring time to time, to thicn the sauce.

Meatballs :

  • 1)

    Meanwhile, make the meatballs. In a large bowl, place the remaining onion, garlic and oregano, add the beef, breadcrumbs, ricotta, parmesan, egg, parsley salt and black pepper. Mix everything together and shape into balls.

  • 2)

    In a large frying pan, put 1 tablespoon of olive oil, once hot, add the meatballs (you will need to do this in two batches, adding anotherr tablespoon of oil to the pan for the next batch). Sear for8 minutes, turning, then transfer to a separate plate.

  • 1)

    Gently lower the meatballs into the sauce .

    Pour over enough of the remaining stock so that the meatballs are almost covered. Add a little of water if you need, to make up the liquid. Place on a medium low heat and simmer very gently, covered, for 30 minutes.

    Towards the end of cooking, remove the lid and increase the temperature, to thicken the sauce (It should have the consistency of pasta sauce).
    Remove from the heat and set aside 10 minutes, add extra fresh chopped oregano and serve.

    Enjoy !

Tips & Tricks :

 Using the ricotta makes the meatballs super light and fluffy
The dish can be made a day in advance, kept in the fridge, and then reheated.


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