Cheese Surprise Meatballs
Will come back and post photo(s) when we do it again.
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- olive oil, for brushing baking dish
- 1 ¾ cups torn stale italian bread
- ½ cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder (more or less)
- kosher salt, to suit your own taste or dietary needs
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- string cheese, cut into ¾” pieces
- ricotta cheese, for topping
- chopped basil leaves, for garnish
- 1 (28 oz.) can or jar of prepared spaghetti sauce (homemade is okay, too, if you have some.)
1Preheat oven to 400º F. Brush a 9” x 9” baking dish with olive oil and set aside.
2Pulse the bread in a food processor to make coarse crumbs. Transfer to a small bowl, add the milk and set aside to soak.
3Lightly beat the egg in a mixing bowl, then add the beef, parsley, parmesan, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes, if using; using your hands, mix lightly. Add the bread-milk mixture and stir/toss with wooden spoon until just combined.
4With damp (not wet) hands, shape the meat mixture into 8-10 meat balls. Push a ¾” length piece of string cheese into each meatball, reforming the meat mixture around the cheese.
5Arrange the meatballs on the prepared baking dish and bake until browned - 25 to 30 minutes.
6Remove the meatballs from the oven and pour off any excess grease. Pour can/jar of prepared sauce over meatballs and dollop spoonfuls of ricotta on top of each meatball. Continue cooking about 5 more minutes, or just until ricotta and sauce is heated through.
7Remove from oven and sprinkle on the chopped basil leaves. Serve with your favorite pasta, a green or yellow vegetable and hot garlic toast.
8NOTE: Meatballs can be formed a day in advance; just cover and refrigerate until 30 minutes before you’re ready to bake. Allow to come to room temperature before placing in oven, otherwise, your cook time will be off.