I’m a big fan of sausage. Some of the stuff that’s out there is suspect, filled with preservatives and other things you probably don’t want to think about, but if you can get your hands on the good stuff from a producer you trust (or, even better, if you make your own), you’ll be amazed at the things you can do with it.
When it comes down to it, sausage is just meat – pork, or chicken, or turkey, or whatever – that is ground up and already seasoned for you. Remove it from the casing and use it just as you would any other ground meat. It’s incredibly versatile, and a great building block for quick dinners.
These might be the easiest meatballs I’ve ever made, and considering the sounds my husband was making as he ate, they just might be the tastiest. I took a pound of sweet Italian sausage (from Pat’s Pastured), removed it from its casing, and combined it with a cup of drained ricotta, a little salt, and an egg. I mixed everything together with my hands until it was well combined, then incorporated some fresh breadcrumbs (from two slices of soft multi-grain bread, pulsed in the food processor until the crumbs were slightly smaller than peas).
I formed the mixture into gumball-sized meatballs, and rolled each of them in a little bit of Wondra, then shallow-fried them in batches in about half an inch of olive oil.
I served the meatballs in shallow bowls with cooked farro and a parmesan broth with thinly sliced scallions and lots of fresh herbs, finishing each serving with a little smoked paprika and parm shavings.
The meatballs were crisp on the outside and almost meltingly tender in the middle thanks to the addition of the ricotta, and because they were made with sausage, they were seasoned perfectly throughout. I love when a meal with this much flavor takes so little time and effort to put together.