Thursday, April 18, 2013

Salsa Finta and Polpette di Ricotta

Dear Readers,

So it's been two months of Cookie's Kitchen and I have had some highs and lows, taught myself some HTML/CSS (haven't had a need to since school days), learnt to edit/add gadgets, make print friendly documents, batch printing of pictures, all from tutorials online. It has been a great learning curve for me, not only have I been cooking and experimenting more actively, I have also been learning some techie stuff on my own. There has been a distinct rise in readership and lot more people are leaving positive comments- so to mark a small milestone I was looking for an interesting recipe to share with all of you. 

There is a cafe in Melbourne Central, on Menzies Ln which served fried ricotta balls in a tomato sauce, just imagine crispy exterior with a melting cheesy center doused in a tangy rich tomato sauce - sublime. For the last few days I have been thinking about that dish, a lot! You know how it is when you really want to taste something but can't and so have to figure it out on your own, it's quite exciting really. I know it was not a hard thing to do on my own, but deep frying soft ricotta balls spelt danger to me. I don't use eggs as a binding agent in cooking and am a little fearful that soft balls like these will break upon frying. So I began my online search for the dish of my dreams and found this recipe Salsa finta and polpette di ricotta, which literally means fake sauce and ricotta balls. It's called a fake sauce as Italians considered a true sauce to be one with meat but this one is a meatless sauce, which is well as delicious if not more. The balls are not deep fried, I might try it the next time but still taste wonderful with the rich tomato sauce.I got the recipe from delicious days, it's a great website - very well written with some lovely recipes.

Salsa Finta and polpette di ricotta is not a hard dish and doesn't use too many ingredients. It's fascinating to see peasant style humble dishes from all over the world making use of minimal resources and putting together such fantastic meals. I like the fact it is so unpretentious and earthy and homey. I hope you enjoy this little Italian adventure of mine as much as I did.



Recipe                                                                                               Print Recipe

(adapted from delicious days)
Sauce serves 2-3, yields 20-30 balls


For the Salsa Finta

4 tbsp Olive oil

1 Medium sized onion

3-4 cloves of Garlic - finely chopped

3-4 tbsp tomato puree or passata

1 can Italian tomatoes (whole or crushed)

1 tbsp Basil leaves 

1 tsp Oregano leaves

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

1 tbsp sugar

For Polpette di Ricotta

250 g Fresh ricotta

50 g grated Parmesan

120 g Bread crumbs

~ a handful of parsley leaves - chopped

sea salt to taste

freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 tsp nutmeg

2 tbsp salsa finta

To serve

grated parmesan

freshly ground black pepper


For the sauce (Salsa Finta)

In a large pan, heat the olive oil and sauté till they are translucent. Add the garlic and let it also cook for another 5 minutes. Now add the tomato puree, crushed tinned tomatoes, sugar, salt and half the basil leaves. The other half we add after the sauce is cooked to give the fresh Basil hit.

Cook for about 15 minutes and check for seasoning (salt, pepper, sugar) The sauce should be rich and tangy and sweet The sugar should neutralize the acidity. Once the sauce is cooked keep it aside.

For the balls (Polpette di ricotta)

Drain the ricotta for about an hour using a fine sieve or muslin cloth. In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients and add the 2 tbsp of salsa finta in the end. Now work the ingredients by hand to form a smooth dough. Check seasoning and add nutmeg, salt, pepper, herbs if required. If the mix is too smooth to form balls of the size of a walnut, add more breadcrumbs, if it is too firm, add more salsa finta.

Roll the dough to form small walnut sized balls and add them to the simmering salsa finta. Let it cook for 10 minutes. Sway the pan from side to side so that the sauce covers all the balls and cooks it evenly. Just before serving add the rest of the basil leaves to the sauce. I served the dish with some spaghetti ( a vegetarian take on spaghetti and meat balls) and grated parmesan and a few more basil leaves chopped up. You can choose to have the dish by itself like gnocchi or with pasta. Enjoy!


  1. first time here, nice space you got. yummy prep with ricotta and sauce looks awesome. do visit me too.

  2. Hi shristi , nice Recipe. This was my first visit to ur blog. I must say u ve got a wonderful blog . i will be following you from now onwards. It will be great if we stay around Sushmita

  3. Hi,

    The recipe is too nice and awesome one thanks it helped in preparing the cookie. Great post. Then Click for fnm cookie.

  4. Looks mouth-watering, Srishti. I believe I have seen something like this in Indian restaurants with Paneer being substituted for Ricotta. I hope that works as I am putting this on my Anniversary dinner menu :)

  5. Lataji I am sure it will work very well with fresh paneer as it is very similar in texture and taste. Do let me know how you go, thanks for your generous comment:)