Cheesy Twist on Meatballs

And covered in sauce!

Traditional Italian meatballs are always a hit. Everyone loves them! Everyone also loves fresh mozzarella. Grocery stores in Texas don’t always carry that amazing fresh mozzarella. So what I find available most of the time is decent but nothing like the fresh mozzarella at specialty stores and high-end markets. I put my decent mozzarella inside the meatball where it stays warm and melty. And its a nice surprise to have gooey mozzarella inside when you bite into a meatball.

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Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs – or plain breadcrumbs(crumbled crackers) with a couple of pinches of Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dry minced garlic or slightly less garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dry minced onion
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
8-10 oz mozzarella, cubed
1 jar tomato sauce or homemade(I have yet to master the homemade sauce)
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Mozzarella

Cube the mozzarella.

mix it up

In a mixing bowl, combine beef, breadcrumbs, garlic, onion, Parmesan cheese, salt and eggs.

Stir gently until uniform. Hands work better for this than a spoon, unless you are taking pictures. Raw meat and camera does not equal sanitary – gross!

making balls of meatForm about 2 Tablespoons of meat mixture around each cube of mozzarella.

ta daRoll around in your hand for form a ball. Make sure that the cheese is not peeking out anywhere.

into the freezerPlace the meatballs in a dish and cover with plastic wrap. Chill meatballs in fridge for 30 minutes. For me this means in the freezer for about 15 minutes, just long enough to mix up fresh pasta dough.

the pan

Preheat oven to 350*. Heat a few teaspoon of oil over a medium-medium/high burner. I have always been told never heat an empty pan. So a lot of the time, I heat up my pan with some regular veggie oil then toss most of the oil out right before I add my food.

browning meatballsWhen the pan is hot, add the meatballs and brown on all sides. Work in two or three batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. If cheese starts melting out of the meatball, you’ve failed! – I’m kidding!! Cheese always finds a way to out of some of my meatballs even though I diligently check to make sure they are sealed. Just be careful not to agitate the structural integrity of the meatball too much. Cheese loss is a sad thing.

ready to bakePour half of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Place the meatballs on top of the sauce and then pour the rest of the sauce over the meatballs. Pop the dish into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Cheesy meatballsI always make these pretty small. I always think when I take them out of the oven, ‘These are too small. If I make them bigger, I could spoon them into some dug out French bread and have one amazing meatball sub.’ Either way they are delicious.

Pasta and Cheesy Meatballs

The aftermath! Seriously everyone’s dish was empty.

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