- 1 cup soft, fresh breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 2 ounces thick bacon slices, minced
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon loosely packed lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper
- 1 pound ground pork
- Vegetable cooking spray
- 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
- 1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 (28-oz.) cans whole plum tomatoes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 (1-oz.) package fresh basil
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 cups uncooked polenta or grits
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Combine first 2 ingredients in a bowl; let stand 10 minutes.
- Stir in egg and next 11 ingredients until blended.
- Add pork; combine using your hands. (Do not overmix.)
- Shape into 36 (1-inch) balls. Lightly grease a jelly-roll pan with cooking spray.
- Place meatballs in pan.
- Bake 10 minutes.
- Process onion and next 3 ingredients in a food processor 20 seconds or until finely chopped; transfer to a bowl.
- Process tomatoes, in batches, until smooth.
- Sauté onion mixture in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat 17 to 20 minutes or until tender.
- Add wine and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Stir in broth, basil, tomatoes, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt.
- Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 35 minutes; add meatballs, and cook 10 minutes.
- Discard basil.
- Stir in lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring 8 cups water and 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat; gradually whisk in polenta.
- Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, 20 to 25 minutes or until creamy.
- Remove from heat; stir in cream, cheese, and butter.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately with ragu.