In the short time I’ve been blogging, already I have learned, and I may be quoting Guy Fieri here, people go nuts for “cheesy meaty goodness!” Well I’ve got the meatballs to live up to that phrase!
Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Basil Sauce
For meatballs: makes about 7 meatballs
1 piece bread, crust removed
1/4 cup milk
2 Cloves garlic
3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 lbs ground turkey
Fresh mozzarella, 1 oz cubed (approx 7)
For sauce: Recipe follows
I am a fanatic for cooking TV, and I’ve watched a lot of meatballs being made. From personal experience, I know making a good meatball can be a bit challenging. Trial and error is to be expected. They have to be well seasoned and moist! The type of meat used is important too. A beef and veil combination seems to be most authentic, but there are no limitations to what can be used to crank out a delicious meatball.
I decided to stuff my meatballs with Mozzarella after realizing I ran out of Parmesan, and it turned out to be a good thing.
First I take the bread, put it in a bowl and soak it in milk, squeeze out the milk into the sink, break up the moist bread into crumbs. First time seeing this technique, I found it a bit strange, but this is traditional Italian. Then I mix all the remaining ingredients, except for turkey and cheese, in the same bowl until well blended. Once mixed, I add ground turkey and blend, being careful not to overwork the meat mixture.
At this point I want to make sure the seasoning is right, so I take a mini meatball and fry it in a skillet. This is a tester to determine if any adjustments need to be made. Once satisfied with the meat, its time to add the cheese. I take golf ball sized portions of the meat, flatten, add cube of cheese in center, and bring together to form a ball. It’s important the ball is properly sealed so that no cheese seeps out during the cooking process.
In to the oven they on a greased baking pan in a 375° oven for 25-28 minutes, or until cooked through. After the meatballs are done baking I add them to my tomato basil sauce (recipe follows) and cook in sauce for a minute or so. Then I serve , plated and smothered in sauce. Yum!
I think my favorite part of this dish, besides the gooey cheese, is the basic tomato basil sauce. It is so simple and so simply tomato, which is what makes it so delicious.
Tomato Basil Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, grated or minced
One 29 oz can tomato puree
Splash beef stock (optional)
4-5 basil leaves, chopped finely
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat oil on low-med heat, add garlic and cook for about 2-3 minutes, being careful not to burn. I used grated garlic to heighten the garlic flavor, but it’s not necessary. Then add tomato puree and beef broth, sprinkle salt and pepper being careful not to add too much because seasonings should be adjusted at the end, heat to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and add in basil. Continue to simmer for 20 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper during the last few minutes.
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