Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

Years ago, when I use to watch The Food Network, I saw Aaron McCargo (Big Daddy's House) and his young son make mozzarella stuffed meatballs together. I immediately knew I had to try them. I had never used (or eaten) mozzarella balls in my entire life. My eldest brother brought something similar home from Italy after living in Rome for two years, but I was more impressed with his lasagna than the foreign cheese. Back then I was picky, so I probably didn't even try it. Luckily I was living in DC at the time Big Daddy's show aired (and I'd gotten over my picky stage), and it was not difficult to find various sizes of mozzarella cheese balls.

Since then I have made this recipe dozens of time and several different ways. It is quite versatile. I've used it to make meatball subs and classic spaghetti and meatballs. I've even served them up hors d'oeuvres style (great for serving a crowd). The size of mozzarella you should use varies depending on how you want to dish them up. When I make them as hors d'oeuvres I use perline (pearl) size balls and keep them warm in a crock pot. I prefer ciliegine (cherry) size for my spaghetti and bocconcini (bite) size for my subs.

For the first time ever I have some (not all) step by step pictures. I figured I wanted to make this recipe after watching it, so maybe seeing a simple how to would motivate someone else. If it doesn't, just look back up at the cheese oosing out of that top picture. Yum!

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs
1lb ground turkey (or beef or sausage)
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 package dry onion soup mix
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 T coarse black pepper
1 T stock (beef or chicken, to pair with choice of ground meat)
8 ounces fresh mozzarella balls*
*see above comments for tips on choosing size

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together ground meat, Worcestershire, onion soup mix, bread crumbs, pepper, and stock.

Form portions of the meat around the cheese to make smooth balls (process pictured below). Arrange the meatballs on a sheet pan with a rack and bake until thoroughly browned and cheese (or grease) is bubbling out of the meatballs, about 15 minutes.

While the meatballs bake, warm up your favorite pasta sauce. When meatballs are done cooking add them to the sauce and serve as desired: w/ spaghetti, on a sub, etc.

Pour it all in a bowl and mix it up.
Pinch a little piece of meat and flatten in palm of hand.
Place cheese ball in center and then pinch up sides and roll out to form meatball.
The recipe makes about 10 large, 18 medium, and 40 small meatballs. When making these for subs I usually double the recipe and use a pound of ground sausage (+one pound ground turkey). Also, if you clicked on the original recipe you will see that Aaron's recipe calls for crumbled bacon. Anything is better with bacon (duh) but for dietary and budget reasons we stopped using bacon in this recipe years ago. 

As you can tell, I've really played around with this one. Hopefully that just shows how fool proof it is. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yum! I'm ready for some more of Bettylou cookin!!!

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