Polpettine con Ricotta by Manuela Darling-Gansser

Ingredients to serve 6

800g minced lamb
300g fresh ricotta
50g freshly grated parmesan
100g unsalted butter
75ml good-quality virgin olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, stalks discarded and leaves chopped
Half a bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
100g pine nuts
60g fresh breadcrumbs
2 organic eggs
Salt and ground black pepper

The addition of ricotta makes the polpettine both a bit lighter and more moist. The inclusion of the spices gives the mixture a little unusual pep.

Place the minced lamb, ricotta and parmigiano into a large mixing bowl. Heat around 20g of the butter and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and cook over a low heat until it softens. Add the garlic, spices, herbs and pine nuts and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool.

Add the breadcrumbs and eggs to the lamb and cheeses. Tip in the spicy onion mixture and season with salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix everything together well. At this stage you can cover the mince mixture and leave it in the refrigerator for a few hours, or even overnight, until needed.

Roll spoonfuls of the mince into small balls between the palms of your hands. Fry the meatballs in batches using the remaining butter and oil, turning on all sides until they are golden-brown. Transfer to a serving dish and keep warm in the oven.

The meatballs are delicious served hot, warm or cold and are delicious with a herby tomato sauce.

Taken from 'Four Seasons – A Year of Italian Food' by Manuela Darling-Gansser (Hardie Grant, £25).