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Deep-Fried Ricotta Balls Recipe

Introducing ricotta balls: the grown-up version of mozzarella sticks.
Deep-Fried Ricotta Balls Recipe
Foto: Oliver Jeppe Hagde

Makes 25
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 2 hours


for the tomato sauce:
¼ cup|60 ml olive oil
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 small chili, stemmed and thinly sliced
2 (28-ounce|794-gram) cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ bunch fresh basil
½ bunch fresh oregano
½ bunch fresh parsley

for the malfatti:
2 pounds|907 grams baby spinach
2 cups|500 gram ricotta cheese
¼ cup|25 grams breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1 lemon, zested
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


for breading:
2 cups|300 grams all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups|215 grams breadcrumbs

to serve:
grated parmesan cheese
fresh parsley or basil


  1. Make the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add the garlic, onion, and chili and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 2 hours. Season with salt and stir in the herbs. Transfer the sauce to a blender and purée until smooth. Return to a saucepan and keep warm.
  2. Make the malfatti: bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Drain, then transfer the spinach to a boil of ice water until cool. Drain again, then squeeze out all of the liquid from the spinach. Transfer to a cutting board and finely chop.
  3. Place the spinach in a bowl with the ricotta, breadcrumbs, egg, lemon zest, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Using your hands, roll the mixture into about 25 balls and transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  4. Bread the malfatti: Place the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs in 3 separate shallow bowls. Working in batches, dust the malfatti in the flour, then dredge them in the eggs, then roll them in the breadcrumbs.
  5. Heat 2 inches of oil in a large saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 350°F. Working in batches, cook the malfatti until golden, about 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the malfatti to the tomato sauce and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer to plates and sprinkle with parmesan and parsley or basil.

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