Ciao Italia Blog Super-Exclusive: Cheesy Stuffed Meatballs
[EDITOR'S NOTE: This recipe is printed exclusively from Mary Ann's forthcoming cookbook, Ciao Italia Five Ingredient Favorites, in stores on September 1, 2009. Every recipe in the book can be made with just five ingredients, not including salt and pepper.]
Can you make a better tasting meatball? Absolutely! Just stuff them with a creamy, melting cheese like Fontina! This may be a little unconventional, but the taste elevates the meatballs to elegant, and they can be served alone or in tomato sauce.
Achieve great flavor by using a combination of ground chuck and ground sirloin because the fat in ground chuck is essential for moistness, while the sirloin provides great texture.
Cheesy Stuffed Meatballs
Makes 8 Meatballs
1/2 cup good quality bread crumbs
1/3 cup heavy cream or half/half
1/2 pound ground chuck
1/2 pound ground sirloin
1/2 pound Fontina or mozzarella cheese cut into 8 small pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
Grinding coarse black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350F.
Put the bread crumbs in a medium size bowl and pour the cream over them. Mix with a fork; the mixture will not be soupy.
Add the ground chuck, sirloin, and salt and pepper. Mix just to combine the ingredients. Divide the mixture into 8 equal pieces and roll each in the palm of your hand to make compact 2 1/2-inch balls.
Insert your thumb into the middle of each meatball and push in a piece of cheese. Close the meatball encasing the cheese and smooth the top.
Place the meatballs on a rimmed, nonstick baking sheet. Bake them for 20-25 minutes or until they are nicely browned. Serve hot as is or put them in tomato sauce and serve with pasta or as a second course.
Variation: make the meatballs miniature size and bake them for 10-12 minutes. Serve as an antipasto. Leftovers make great sandwich filling too!
Cook’s Secret: If you wet your hands between making each meatball, the meat mixture will not stick to your hands.
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