My good friend, Chris, recently made these for her husband’s birthday. He loved them so much, he uttered that treacherous phrase for an Italian boy, “Better than mama’s!”
I haven’t had the chance to make them yet, but isn’t his reaction inspiring?
The recipe essentially follows one by Giada de Laurentiis, except substitutes regular for smoked mozzarella.
-1 small (6-ounce) onion, grated
-1/2 c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus 1/4 cup
-2/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup
-1/3 c. Italian-style bread crumbs
-1 large egg
-2 Tbsp. ketchup
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
-1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
-1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
-1 lb. meatloaf mix (beef, pork, and veal)
-2 oz. mozzarella cheese, cut into 16 (1/2-inch) cubes
1. Position oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine the onion, 1/2 cup parsley, 2/3 cup Parmesan, bread crumbs, egg, ketchup, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the beef and veal. Using your hands, combine all ingredients gently but thoroughly.
3. Shape the meat mixture into 16 (1 1/2-inch-diameter) meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet. Make a hole in the center of each meatball and place a cube of mozzarella inside. Reform the meatball so that the mozzarella is completely covered with the meat mixture.
4. Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes until cooked through.