2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds 80 percent lean ground beef
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
4 cups Classic Tomato Sauce
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Drizzle olive oil into a 9-by 13-inch baking dish; using your hand, evenly coat entire surface. Set aside.
In a large bowl, use your hands to mix together beef, ricotta, eggs, breadcrumbs, parsley, oregano, salt, red-pepper flakes, and fennel until fully incorporated. Roll mixture into firmly packed 1 1/2-inch balls.
Place meatballs in prepared baking dish, taking care to line them up snugly so that they are touching one another in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid. Transfer baking dish to oven. Bake until meatballs are firm and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball reads 165 degrees.
Meanwhile, heat tomato sauce in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.
Remove meatballs from oven and carefully drain excess grease from pan. Pour heated sauce over meatballs and return to oven; cook for 15 minutes more. Serve