Beef and Ricotta Meatballs with Chard

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Another winner from F&W. I swapped in chard for beet greens and baked my meatballs instead of frying them.

Ingredients:
For the Chard:
2 TBSP olive oil
1 carrot, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small yellow onion, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 celery rib, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
3 anchovy fillets in oil, drained and chopped
1/2 c tomato paste
1 c water
1 pound chard, stemmed and coarsely chopped

For the Meatballs:
2 sliced day-old bread, torn into 1 inch pieces
1/4 c milk
1 lb ground beef (25 percent fat)
1/2 c fresh ricotta cheese
1/2 freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
1 large egg
Zest of one lemon
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 TBSP finely chopped parsley
1/2 TBSP ground fennel seed
Salt

PREPARE THE GREENS In a pot, heat the oil. Add the carrot, onion and celery, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the vegetables are very tender and caramelized, 20 minutes. Add the anchovies and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the anchovies dissolve and the tomato paste is deep red, 5 minutes. Add the water, chard, season with salt and pepper, and cook, tossing occasionally, until wilted, 7 minutes.

MAKE THE MEATBALLS
Preheat oven to 350.

In a bowl, soak the bread in the milk until the milk is absorbed, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the beef, ricotta, Parmigiano, egg, lemon zest, crushed red pepper, parsley, fennel, kosher salt and black pepper. Squeeze any excess milk from the bread and add the bread to the bowl. Mix the meat mixture well, then roll it into eighteen 1 1/2-inch balls; transfer to a baking sheet.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

Serve meatballs on greens with a little parmigiano.

Serves 6.

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