The first thing I ever cooked for my wife, Grace, were these meatballs. I made the mixture at my apartment, then packed it up with a box of pasta, ingredients for sauce, and a pot (she told me she had only a skillet) and took it all to her apartment . . . which soon became my apartment, too. A small victory here is not only about getting someone to marry you (!), but also about making meatballs that are incredibly light and tender by incorporating a generous amount of ricotta cheese in the mixture. In fact, I’ve found that by adding ricotta, you can skip the usual bread crumbs and eggs (which also makes this recipe gluten-free, if that’s important to you)—I love any addition that allows you to let go of a few things. Another small victory is baking the meatballs instead of frying them. It’s much less messy and so easy—win-win. Please note that while most of the recipes in this book serve four, I’ve made this one a bit larger because whenever I make meatballs, I like to make a ton so that I can freeze some. That way, I can have meatballs on the spur of the moment. I thought you might like that too, but feel free to cut the recipe in half if you prefer.
Excerpted from Small Victories by Julia Turshen. Published by Chronicle Books. Text ©2016 Julia Turshen. Photograph ©2016 Gentl + Hyers.