Ricotta Fritters (Polpette di Ricotta)
Chilling the ricotta–prosciutto mixture after mixing it allows the flavors to come together and makes the balls easier to form.
Credit: André BaranowskiMAKES 20 FRITTERS
INGREDIENTS2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, smashed
½ tsp. crushed red chile flakes
1 14-oz. can crushed tomatoes
6 basil leaves, torn in half
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup homemade or store-bought ricotta
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
½ cup grated pecorino
⅓ cup grated mozzarella
1 tsp. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
½ tsp. grated lemon zest
⅛ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
3 egg yolks plus 2 eggs
4 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, finely chopped
¼ cup flour
½ cup dried bread crumbs
Canola oil, for frying
INSTRUCTIONS1. Heat olive oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add chile flakes; toast for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and basil, bring to a boil, lower heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce begins to thicken, 6–8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low; keep warm.
2. Stir together ricotta, fresh bread crumbs, pecorino, mozzarella, parsley, lemon zest, nutmeg, egg yolks, and prosciutto in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper; cover and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
3. Put flour, whole eggs, and dried bread crumbs into 3 separate shallow dishes; whisk eggs. Using your hands, form chilled ricotta mixture into 1½" balls. Working with 1 ball at a time, dredge in flour, then eggs, then bread crumbs, shaking off any excess. Transfer to a parchment paper–lined sheet tray.
4. Pour enough canola oil into a 4-quart saucepan that it reaches a depth of 2". Heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer inserted in the oil registers 350°. Working in batches, fry the ricotta balls, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the balls to a paper towel–lined plate. Serve with the tomato sauce.