There are meatballs and then there are these Slow-Cooked Saucepan Ricotta Cinnamon Meatballs! So perfect for those busy days.
What makes this dish so incredibly easy and mess-free is that there is no browning of the meatballs required. You can simply make the meatballs the night before, throw everything into a saucepan, and cook on low for a couple hours.
This recipe is also gluten-free and can be modified to dairy-free by changing the cheeses used for vegan cheese and ricotta.
What is a Saucepan?
As you may have noticed, I did not need a fancy crockpot or instant pot to make this incredible meal. Instead, I used my 3.5-quart saucepan, by Xtrema Cookware, to show that you don't need an extra kitchen gadget to create a home cooked meal. Chances are, you may already have a large or decent size saucepan perfect for slow cooking.
A saucepan is essentially one of the most-used kitchen items. Every home cook owns one and every kitchen needs one. They have deep side edges that make them perfect for braising, making sauces, stewing, simmering, making soup and bone broth, boiling water, and so much more. They come in many different sizes and usually have handles on them to make them easier to maneuver. If you have an Xtrema Cookware saucepan, then you already know it's even oven-safe.
If you don't own any Xtrema Cookware items, I highly recommend them. Here's why...
Why Xtrema Pure Ceramic Cookware?
Did you know that most cookware products such as non-stick aka Teflon, aluminum, and copper contain harmful ingredients such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOAs), polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), neurotoxic metals, and so much more? When that chemical begins to reach a certain degree in heat, it releases those toxins into your food. Some cookware containing aluminum can cause (in the case of extreme exposure) specific encephalopathy with dementia syndrome. (Source) Elevated aluminum concentrations can be detected in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
I trust and recommend Xtrema Cookware because it's made with 100% ceramic and is one of the safest options on the market. Completely all-natural, non-toxic, inorganic, and nonreactive containing no PFOA, PTFE, polymers, coatings, and more. Every item made is tested for the presence of heavy metals and free of more than 800 compounds that may cause cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm. (Source)
Now, let's get cooking!
Years ago, I saw a recipe on the Food Network where it was a pasta bolognese sauce containing cinnamon and I remember thinking how interesting that sounded. When I wanted to create meatballs that were different and EXTRA, I knew I had to incorporate those delicious warm, and inviting spices.
- Ground Beef and Ground Turkey: I love the combo of beef and turkey.
- Crushed tomatoes: I love and prefer anything from the San Marzano region.
- Shallot: Grated is best for flavor and texture in both the sauce and meatballs. You can use a yellow onion as well.
- Grated carrot: I saw this once on the Food Network and have always made my Bolognese sauce with a grated carrot. It adds so much flavor.
- Cinnamon and Nutmeg: The star ingredients that really make these meatballs something spectacular. I highly recommend not omitting these.
- Ricotta Cheese: Another star ingredient. The ricotta will help keep the meatballs from drying out, but also add great flavor and texture.
This recipe couldn't be simpler. You make the gluten-free meatballs and set them aside. Then you add the sauce ingredients into your sauce pan and simmer. Add the meatballs right into the pan, cover, and simmer on low for about 2 hours. I like to serve mine on a bed of cauliflower mashed potatoes and some steamed green beans or broccoli.
Saucepan Ricotta Cinnamon Meatballs
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup almond flour or breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup ricotta
- 1/2 small yellow onion, grated
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 yellow onion, grated
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small carrot, peeled and grated
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (I prefer anything from San Marzano)
- 1/4 cup water (I like to use the can from the emptied crushed tomatoes to add water)
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 rind of parmesan (just the rind) - optional
- 1/4 cup shaved or grated parmesan for garnish
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, add all of the meatball ingredients and mix well with your hands.
- Using an ice cream scooper, form even meatballs and add on a large plate, and set aside in the fridge.
- In your sauce pan, heat up the oil. Then add in the grated onion and carrots. Sautee for about 2 minutes, then add in the garlic for another 30 seconds.
- Next, add in the tomato paste and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Add in the wine and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in the crushed tomatoes, water, salt, pepper, and parmesan rind. Bring it to a low simmer.
- Add in the meatballs one at a time and cover with a lid. Simmer on low for about 2 hours.
- Serve over pasta, mashed potatoes, or anything you prefer. Top it with fresh basil, parsley, and shaved parmesan.
This post is sponsored by Xtrema Cookware. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make it possible for Precious Time Blog to provide free content and healthy living inspiration.