Project Description

Deep-fried Ricotta Balls

Deep-fried ricotta balls make a lovely nibble before an Italian meal. This recipe was developed in celebration of Lyndey’s hosted Culinary Tours to Puglia and Basilicata.

Makes around 30 balls
Preparation time: 15 minutes + 15 minutes drying
Cooking time: 10 minutes


1 1/3 cups (320g) fresh ricotta (sheep or goats if possible)
¾ cup (60g) freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
4 anchovies, drained rinsed, finely chopped
Pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
2 eggs
2 – 3 cups (500-750ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 cup (80g) fresh bread crumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Mix ricotta with the grated cheese, parsley, garlic, anchovies, nutmeg and the yolk of 1 egg (reserving the white), using a fork to keep it light. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired. Using an oiled melon baller or teaspoons, form the ricotta mixture into balls about the size of small walnuts and set on baking paper on a rack to dry slightly for about 15 minutes.
  2. To cook, place the oil in a pan suitable for deep-frying and heat to about 180’C. Test with a wooden spoon and if the oil bubbles, it is hot enough. The amount of oil needed depends on the size of the pan, but it should be at least 5 cm deep.
  3. In a shallow bowl whisk the egg white with the remaining whole egg. Place the bread crumbs in another shallow bowl.
  4. Dip each ricotta ball in the egg to coat it lightly, then roll it quickly in the bread crumbs. Drop the balls, a few at a time, in the hot oil and fry in batches until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain briefly on a rack or kitchen paper, then serve immediately, crisp and hot.

Pictured with Orecchiette with Tomatoes.
Try also Orecchiette with Broccoli Raab.