Meatballs and all the cheese dollops
This Meatball and Ricotta Pizza is a household favorite of ours, combining the fella's love of a rich meat-centric pie with my inclination to cover nearly everything I make in dollops of ricotta cheese (as one arguably should). This pizza combines savory and herbaceous Italian meatballs with creamy dollops of whole milk ricotta cheese, slices of fresh mozzarella, and a generous sprinkle of fresh, aromatic basil over a classic garlicky red sauce base.
Let's talk about the meatballs for a moment
My recipe for meatballs will make 18 meatballs, twice as many as you will need for one Meatball and Ricotta Pizza, but perfect for two pizzas (or to repurpose for leftovers). If you'd prefer to only make as much as needed for one pizza, feel free to half the recipe for meatballs; You do not need to halve the egg if doing this.
If you choose to make a full batch of meatballs but only one pizza, here are a few ways I suggest repurposing the leftover meatballs:
- Top your soup with them, like this Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Chunky Tomato Basil Soup, or Roasted Broccoli Cauliflower Soup
- Bake them in a Kitchen Sink Frittata or a batch of Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
- Pop them on top of a salad. Swap them for the meatballs in this Burger Salad
- Pair them with a warm side dish like these Smashed Potatoes with Avocado Chimichurri Sauce or this Brussels Sprouts au Gratin
What type of Ricotta and Mozzarella is best to use?
I prefer to use the thickest whole milk ricotta I can find for this pizza so that it stays rich and creamy after baking, but not all ricotta is created equally. If you can scoop your ricotta and it holds its shape fairly well, it’s perfect. If your ricotta doesn’t hold its shape when scooped and is a little on the thin side, I suggest you strain some of the excess liquid using a cheesecloth-lined strainer for atleast 5 minutes. A pinch of salt stirred into the ricotta can also greatly help disgorge some of the excess liquid when straining.
For the mozzarella, I prefer to use a fresh, low-moisture variety. Usually, I purchase this type of mozzarella in an 8 oz ball and slice it for the pizza, but you can also buy it in small medallions or small balls (called ciliegine) if you prefer.
WHAT ABOUT THE PIZZA CRUST?
I prefer to use this Easy Same-Day Pizza Dough recipe to make this Meatball and Ricotta Pizza, but if you have a preferred pizza crust recipe of your own or want to grab some pre-made dough from the store, feel free to use those as well.
WHAT TEMPERATURE IS BEST TO BAKE PIZZA AT?
Your aim is a perfectly golden crust and nicely caramelized toppings, so the hotter the better. Many professional pizzerias keep their ovens heated to 800 degrees F or higher, but most home ovens only reach temperatures between 500-550 degrees F so this recipe is created with those constraints in mind. I bake my pizzas at 500 degrees F / 260 degrees C and get wonderful results. If your oven tops out at 450 degrees F / 232 degrees C, I have tested that temp many times over as well and it works well, though you’ll want to plan on a few extra minutes in the oven, especially if your pie is piled high with toppings.
REHEATING PIZZA LEFTOVERS
It would be cliche if I made a joke about leftovers and pizza right now, so we’ll just skip that and assume you didn’t eat the entire pie for a moment. My two favorite methods for reheating pizza so it retains its crisp crust while remelting the cheese is in the oven or in a cast-iron pan on top of the stove.
Oven method: Bake on a sheet pan at 350 F / 175 C for 10 minutes or until pizza has reached your desired level of warmth and crispness.
Stovetop method: Set pizza in a cast-iron pan over medium-low heat. Allow to cook until the crust has reached your desired level of crispness. If the cheese isn’t melted enough for your taste you can add a few drops of water to the pan (away from the pizza) and cover the pan for a minute or two to allow the steam to melt the cheese further.
WHAT TOOLS DO I NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE?
- A baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- A kitchen scale or measuring cups (for less precise measurements)
- Measuring spoons
- A mixing bowl
- A metal fork to combine ingredients
- A meat thermometer
- A cutting board
- A chef's knife
- A rolling pin (only if you prefer an evenly thick pie) otherwise your hands are your best tool
- A spoon or spatula (to spread the sauce)
- A pizza wheel
Are you looking to upgrade to your cooking tools or replenish your pantry? Check out my kitchen tools shop page and pantry staples shop page to find my must-have kitchen tools, pantry items, and other Whip & Wander favorites.
LOOKING FOR MORE PIZZA INSPIRATION?
Love this Meatball and Ricotta Pizza recipe? Here are some additional favorites for your next pizza night:
- Sausage, Fennel, and Calabrian Chili Pizza
- Pizza Quattro Stagioni
- White Pizza with Pumpkin, Bacon, Kale, and Gouda
- White Pizza with Hot Pickled Peppers and Honey
- Canadian Bacon, Pineapple, and Sauerkraut Pizza
This Meatball and Ricotta Pizza combines savory and herbaceous Italian meatballs with creamy dollops of whole milk ricotta cheese, slices of fresh mozzarella, and a generous sprinkle of fresh, aromatic basil over a classic garlicky red sauce base.
For the meatballs:
This recipe will make 18 meatballs, twice as many as you will need for one pizza, but perfect for two (or to repurpose for leftovers). If you'd prefer to only make as much as needed for one pizza, feel free to half the recipe for meatballs. You do not need to halve the egg if doing this.
- ½ lb ground Italian sausage
- ½ lb ground beef
- 30 g (about ½ cup) panko bread crumbs
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried basil
- ½ tsp Kosher salt
- ¼ tsp cracked black pepper
For the rest of the pizza:
- ½ recipe Easy Same-Day Pizza Dough
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 8 oz tomato sauce (I prefer unsalted/no-salt-added for this pizza if you can find it)
- ¼ tsp garlic powder (can omit in favor of using garlic-infused olive oil for the olive oil portion above, if preferred)
- 8 oz mozzarella ball, sliced into 8 pieces
- 186 g (about ¾ cup) whole milk ricotta cheese
- optional: ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 4 tbsp fresh basil, julienned
For the meatballs:
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F / 205 degrees C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and reserve to the side.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the ground sausage, ground beef, panko, egg, parsley, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper until combined fully. Shape into 18 balls (or 9 if halving the recipe) transferring each to your reserved baking sheet, evenly spaced apart.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F / 74 degrees C.
- Remove the meatballs from the sheet pan. Slice each in half and reserve to the side.
For the rest of the pizza:
- Raise your oven temperature to 500 degrees F / 260 degrees C and set a baker’s half sheet to the side.
- Shape your dough. If you prefer a classic pie-shape with a thicker crust compared to the center of your dough, I suggest hand-stretching your dough. If you prefer your pizza to be an even thickness, I suggest rolling your dough out with a rolling pin.
- If you are hand-stretching your dough:
- I like to rub a small amount of olive oil into my hands first; this allows me to shape the dough easier without it ripping accidentally from friction.
- Press the dough down with the palm of your hand into a disk shape, then use your fingertips to gently press down on the dough disk, further flattening it.
- To further extend the dough, I prefer to press one palm on top of one side of the dough and with the other hand lift the alternative side of the dough and gently work the dough outward, pulling very gently with the tips of my oiled fingers (like a very discrete “come hither” motion) to slowly stretch the dough out. Rotate slightly and repeat until the dough is shaped and stretched to your liking. If you find that the dough starts to snap back or is beginning to tear, allow the dough to relax for a minute or two before proceeding again. Transfer your stretched dough to a sheet of parchment paper.
- If you are using a rolling pin:
- I prefer to place my dough between two sheets of parchment paper to avoid the dough sticking to my rolling pin, but if you prefer you can also sprinkle a bit of flour over the dough ball as well as wiping some over your rolling pin by hand to prevent sticking instead. Once the dough has been rolled to your preferred size and shape, peel the top layer of parchment paper off (if using). The bottom layer that the dough is resting on can be utilized for your baking sheet. If you find that the dough starts to snap back or is beginning to tear, allow the dough to relax for a minute or two before proceeding again.
- If you are hand-stretching your dough:
- Transfer your shaped dough to the reserved baking sheet.
- Brush olive oil onto the pizza dough lightly and evenly. This can be done with a pastry brush or the back of a spoon
- In a small bowl combine tomato sauce and garlic powder (if using). Pour over the top of the pizza dough and using the back of a spoon spread the sauce out evenly over the dough.
- Top the pizza with the slices of mozzarella, spacing them out evenly, then top with spoonfuls of ricotta, spacing those out evenly as well. Sprinkle with ¼th teaspoon optional dried oregano, if desired. Finally, top with the halved meatballs.
- Bake for 16-22 minutes or until the crust has reached your preferred level of crispness and the mozzarella cheese is beginning to brown and blister. I find that pizzas that have a thinner topping layer take less time to bake and heavier-topped pizzas generally take a bit longer to bake so watch your pizza closely after the 16-minute mark and adjust as desired.
- Top the finished pizza with fresh basil, slice into desired pieces, and serve warm.
Nutritional information on Whip & Wander is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site.
- Serving Size: ¼th of the pizza
- Calories: 636
- Sugar: 5 g
- Sodium: 967 mg
- Fat: 30 g
- Saturated Fat: 11 g
- Carbohydrates: 58 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Protein: 34 g
- Cholesterol: 128 mg
Keywords: Pizza, Meatballs, Ricotta