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Grassfed Meatballs & Basil Tomato Sauce Recipe with Garlic Focaccia

If you're looking for the best meatball recipe, you've come to the right place. Packed with a tasty combination of grassfed ground beef and pasture raised ground pork, creamy ricotta cheese, and plenty of fresh basil – these meatballs are moist, flavorful, and oh so comforting. Nestled in a garlic and basil infused tomato sauce dotted with ricotta, the meatballs finish cooking in the oven. Serve with fresh baked scratch made garlic focaccia, and maybe a big salad if you're into that. Let's get cooking!             

Serves 4


For the Meatballs –

  • 1/2 lb. 1915 Farm Grassfed Ground Beef
  • 1/2 lb. 1915 Farm Grassfed Pasture Raised Pork (feel free to use all beef if you prefer, or don't have pork on hand)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese 
  • 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (or Pecorino Romano), grated Plus additional for serving.
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs 
  • 1 egg
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil 
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • Kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper

For the Tomato Sauce –

  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 28oz. can of crushed tomatoes (I prefer the organic fire roasted variety, or San Marzano to keep it Italian ;)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped (don't chop until ready to use)
  • 3/4 cup ricotta, for topping tomato sauce before baking
  • Kosher salt, to taste

For the Focaccia

  • 300g bread flour
  • 300g all purpose flour
  • 14g kosher salt
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar 
  • 20g extra-virgin olive oil
  • 535g lukewarm water 
  • Additional olive oil for greasing pan and drizzling
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or grated.    
  • Flaky finishing salt such as Maldon


Prepare the focaccia dough the day before for optimal results. Follow the step-by-step instructions detailed here. The overnight rise in the fridge is an absolute game changer for flavor and the interior structure of this bread, but there are a few different options in the recipe depending on your timeline! This is a super easy bake

For the Meatballs –

In a large bowl, combine 1/2 lb. beef and 1/2 lb. pork. Season generously with kosher salt & pepper. Next, add ricotta, panko, egg, shallot, garlic, parm or pecorino cheese, and olive oil. Combine well using clean oiled hands. Don't overmix, as this will result in less tender meatballs. Sprinkle the basil over the top and begin forming meatballs using about 1 heaping spoonful per ball, though you can modify to your preference.

*If making focaccia, now is a good time to bake it, after you've completed the final rise in the pan. You can stash the meatballs on a plate or sheet pan in the fridge until ready to proceed. The focaccia and meatballs both bake at 400° making this easy to orchestrate.

Place a large heavy skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once hot, drizzle in some olive oil. Using tongs, gently place meatballs into pan, starting around the outer edge and working your way inwards, taking care not to move them once they've come in contact with the pan. Sear meatballs for a 3-5 min before flipping each meatball when it easily releases from the pan. Remove meatballs to a plate.

For the Tomato Sauce –

Preheat oven to 400° 

In the same skillet you seared the meatballs, add a splash of olive oil followed by the onion and a pinch of kosher salt. Sauté over medium heat until softened. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant. Add tomato paste and stir to combine. Finally, add the can of crushed tomatoes and another large pinch or two of kosher salt. Seasoning in layers is very important to building flavor! Add basil and continue to simmer sauce on low heat for about 20-30 minutes, breaking up larger pieces of tomato according to preference. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Nestle meatballs into the tomato sauce and dollop spoonfuls of ricotta between meatballs. Place into preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until meatballs are cooked through. 

To Serve –

Grate fresh parm or pecorino cheese over meatballs and garnish with additional basil. Grab a piece of warm focaccia and dig in!


We hope you enjoy this recipe! If you’d like to share your delicious dish on Instagram, don’t forget to tag us @1915_Farm

P.S. If you love our delicious grassfed beef and pasture raised pork – consider subscribing to the Grassroots Meat Club (ships free in TX, reduced in other states). 

Each Grassroots Meat Club box includes a variety of hand-selected grassfed and pasture raised meats, such as chicken breasts, chicken tenders, leg quarters, wings, thighs, drumsticks, whole chicken, ground beef, kabobs, stew meat, stir fry, cutlets, London broil (top round), beef roasts, beef osso buco, short ribs, various sausages, pork roasts, pork chops, bacon, ground pork, fajita meat, country style ribs, spare ribs, and bacon!


Focaccia recipe by Cloudy Kitchen

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