6 servings

Prep Time: 1 hour / Cook Time: 2 hours


Braising Base
2 bacon strips, minced
Olive oil, as needed
1 red onion, minced
Salt, to taste
6 garlic cloves, crushed
3/4 cup dry red wine
3 cups San Marzano tomatoes, passed through the coarse die on a food mill
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 rosemary sprigs
4 thyme sprigs

1 pound ground Anderson Ranch Grass-Fed Lamb,
2 ½ cup bread crumbs, unseasoned
1/2 cup ricotta
1/4 cup Pecorino cheese, grated
1 egg
2 tablespoons parsley
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup black olives
1 tablespoon mint leaves, stacked, rolled into a tight cylinder, sliced crosswise into thin strips
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino cheese
Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
Creamy polenta, for serving


Begin the braising base for the lamb meatballs: In a large casserole, render the bacon with a small amount of oil. Add in onion; season lightly with salt. Cook until onion is soft. Add in garlic; sweat for 1 to 2 minutes. Deglaze with wine; cook for a few minutes. Add in tomatoes and paste; bring the sauce to a simmer. Wrap butcher’s twine around the bottom of the thyme and rosemary and tie together; add to sauce. Cook sauce while preparing meatballs.


In a bowl, combine lamb, bread crumbs, ricotta, Pecorino, egg, parsley, cumin and paprika; mix well with your hands. Season with salt and pepper. Form meatballs. In a lightly sprayed sauté pan, add meatballs. Place under a broiler to cook, or brown on the stovetop. When brown, transfer meatballs to braising base. Place a parchment cover on the pan; cook at 325ºF about 1 hour.

To finish the dish, stir the olives into the meatball mixture. Serve over creamy polenta and sprinkled with chopped fresh mint, grated Pecorino, olive oil and black pepper.


Recipe from Chef/Owner Matthew Accarrino, SPQR (San Francisco, California)