Cheesy Stuffed Meatballs
Meatballs With A Flavor Surprise In the Middle
From Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites by Mary Ann Esposito, copyright 2009. St. Martin's Press. Reprinted with permission.
- Servings: 8 meatballs.
This recipe is from the latest Ciao Italia cookbook from author and PBS program host Mary Ann Esposito: Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites. This book is about making authentic Italian flavors with only five ingredients (not counting salt and pepper) -- which means easy and affordable meals. But there's no compromise in the final result, as these tasty meatballs prove.
Mary Ann writes in her introduction:
"Can you make a better-tasting meatball? Absolutely! Just stuff them with a creamy cheese like Italian fontina! This may be a slightly unconventional way to make them, but the taste elevates the meatballs to elegant; they can be served alone or in a tomato sauce. To achieve great flavor, use a combination of ground chuck and ground sirloin. The fat in ground chuck is essential for moistness while the sirloin provides great texture."
- 1/2 cup good-quality dried bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
- 1/2 pound ground chuck
- 1/2 pound ground sirloin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- Coarsely ground black pepper
- 1/2 pound Italian fontina or mozzarella cheese, cut into 8 small pieces
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Put the bread crumbs in a medium bowl and our the cream over them. Mix with a fork; the mixture will not be soupy.
- Add the ground chuck, sirloin, and salt and pepper. Mix with a fork or your hands just to combine the ingredients. Divide the mixture into 8 equal pieces and roll each in the palms of your hands to make compact 1 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 in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are nicely browned. Serve hot as is, or add them to a tomato sauce and serve them with pasta or as a second course.