Fresh pasta takes only 2 to 3 minutes to cook. Bring your pot of water to a boil early, and drop the pasta in just before the meatballs are finished so that everything is done at the same time. Ricotta cheese makes the meatballs light and tender and not too dense; they're a bit too fragile to toss with the pasta, so they're scooped out of the sauce and then placed on top at the end. If you can't find fresh linguine, use fresh fettuccine.
1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated fresh linguine
1 ounce pecorino Romano cheese, grated and divided (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup panko
1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
8 ounces ground sirloin (90% lean)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 garlic clove, grated
2 cups lower-sodium marinara sauce (such as Dell'Amore)
Small basil leaves (optional)
How to Make It
Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain and keep pasta warm.
While water for pasta comes to a boil, combine 2 tablespoons pecorino Romano, panko, and next 4 ingredients (through garlic) in a medium bowl. Shape mixture into 16 (1-inch) meatballs. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add meatballs to pan; cook 6 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Add marinara; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook 5 minutes or until meatballs are done. Remove pan from heat; remove meatballs from pan with a slotted spoon. Add pasta to pan; toss to coat. Top with meatballs and remaining 2 tablespoons pecorino Romano. Garnish with basil, if desired.