Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller 
Hands-on Time
1 Hour 20 Mins
Total Time
2 Hours 35 Mins
Makes 6 to 8 servings

Baking the meatballs sets their shape so they'll stay whole when simmered in the tomato sauce.

How to Make It

Step 1

Prepare Meatballs: 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.

Step 2

Prepare Ragu: 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.

Step 3

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 tsp. salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Stir in broth, basil, tomatoes, and remaining 3/4 tsp. 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.

Step 4

Prepare Polenta: Bring 8 cups water and 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt to a boil in a 4-qt. 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.

Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Hog & Hominy, East Memphis, TN

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Ratings & Reviews

shellgrl1's Review

March 24, 2014
this was a lot of work and sooo not worth it. Followed recipe exactly. Meatballs were not good, ragu was ok at best and watery. Polenta was delicious but that's not the dish. Definitely would not make again and glad it was just my family and not made for company.

TabithaTalbert's Review

March 03, 2014
The meatballs are absolutely spectacular. I thought the sauce was horrible, though.

CarolynP309's Review

January 20, 2014
This turned out great! Much better than I expected. To save time, I used frozen meatballs from Sam's Club. I'm sure the ones in the recipe would be good, but in a time crunch, the frozen ones worked well. I substituted a cup of red grape juice and one TBSP of red wine vinegar for the cup of red wine. Will make again for sure!

Tami09's Review

January 19, 2014
So delicious! Loved the lemon zest and heat from the red pepper, great recipe!