Baby Olivia is here.
She was born at the Montfort Hospital in Ottawa on Thursday, May 10 at 7:03 a.m. She was a long baby at 20 inches, but an average weight at 7 pounds 6 ounces.
The birth process lasted 41 hours! My sister’s labour was induced, which oftentimes leads to a slower process, though.
My sister and Olivia are still in hospital because Olivia has jaundice. We’re hoping they will be home by Tuesday. If so, I’m going to go over to my sister’s place and make her some hearty dinners to stick in the fridge or freezer for when she needs them in the next couple of weeks. Maybe something like these ricotta meatballs.
Poaching the meatballs in their sauce keeps them moist, while infusing the sauce with meaty flavour.
For the meatballs:
2 cups ground pork, ground veal or sausage meat (I like a mix of pork and veal or veal and sausage)
1 cup ricotta
1 yellow onion, diced fine
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp toasted fennel seeds, lightly crushed
4 tbsp minced parsley
salt and black pepper
Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook gently until translucent and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat. Add the milk, breadcrumbs and fennel seeds. Stir well. Allow the breadcrumbs to absorb the milk.
Make sure the mixture is highly seasoned. Chill 20 minutes in the fridge. This is the base for the meatballs.
Add the meatball base, ground meat, ricotta, fennel seeds and parsley to a large mixing bowl. Crack in two eggs. Mix by hand until well combined. The mixture should be dough-like.
Pinch off 2-3 ounce sized chunks of the meat mixture and roll into balls. Place balls on a plate or baking sheet and refrigerate until they set up, about 2 hours.
Meanwhile, start the sauce.
For the sauce:
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 onions, diced fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup water
1 sprig of thyme
*This sauce needs to be loose because the meatballs are poached in it. During poaching the sauce will reduce and thicken. Just don’t reduce it too much before poaching begins.
Sweat the onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Deglaze the pot with white wine. Simmer 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, thyme and water.
Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Cool slightly. Puree to smooth in a blender.
For the poaching:
grated parmesan for garnishing (optional)
minced parsley for garnishing
Poach the meatballs in the sauce at medium-low heat until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Throw in some torn basil at the last minute and stir. Serve meatballs with pasta or bread. Garnish with grated parmesan and parsley.
TIP: To peel lots of garlic really fast, shake cloves hard in a closed container for one minute.