Main course Recipes

Tomato-Braised Meatballs with Melting Mozzarella

June 22, 2012

Meatballs… they’re on practically everyone’s favorite comfort food list and can be enjoyed in so many different ways they now have entire restaurants dedicated to them (The Meatball Shop in New York City is pure genius). While most consume them over pasta or stuffed in a sandwich, some have discovered the art of meatballs as a main dish such as in this mozzarella-stuffed meatballs recipe. Hearty, sizeable and a show stopper, they require nothing other than a light side dish and a good glass of red wine.

I can’t say for sure if it’s the element of surprise or just the cheese that makes me love these meatballs so much. They’re essentially a meaty version of arancinis with the same unctuous and insanely gooey melted mozzarella interior. Let’s face it, making meatballs is not a walk in the park and no matter what it will require some dedicated time over the weekend. So why not throw a little mozzarella ball into the mix – it’s as easy as making them the regular way and it adds a little fun factor for anyone who like me really enjoy playing with their food!

Tomato-Braised Meatballs with Melting Mozzarella


Adapted from The Cheesemonger’s Kitchen
Total time: 2 hours
Makes about 6 servings

225g stale baguette, sliced
1/2 cup (30g) fresh basil, chopped
450g ground beef
450g ground pork
1 cup (100g) grated pecorino romano cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp salt
20 bocconcini di mozzarella cheese

6 tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, minced
3 garlic cloves, peeled
910g fresh or canned San Marzano or plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
salt and pepper
pinch of crushed red chilies

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water

Submerge bread in enough cold water to thoroughly soak and then squeeze dry.

Tear into small pieces and place in large mixing bowl.

Add basil, beef, pork, pecorino, eggs, salt, and a few grindings of pepper to bowl. Mix.

Form mixture into 20 patties 2″ in diameter.

Lay a bocconcini ball on each patty and mold meat mixture around to form meatballs.

Prepare the sauce: Heat olive oil in large saucepan over low heat. Add onions and cook 10 minutes or until translucent. Turn up heat to medium, add garlic, and cook for 3 – 4 minutes or until aromatic. Add tomatoes, season well with salt and pepper and add chilies.

Simmer sauce for 20 minutes, stirring often. Puree with immersion blender.

In a deep saucepan large enough to hold meatballs and sauce, heat olive oil until hot. Brown meatballs a few at a time.

Deglaze bottom of pan with water, scraping to release bits of meat. Add tomato sauce and then meatballs. Bring to simmer and cook for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Serve.

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs 2

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  • Jessie June 22, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Mmmm…. mmmmm…. mmmmmmm….. those look so good. I want like ten of them right now!

    • Sandra June 22, 2012 at 9:55 pm

      Lol! You’d be surprised just how big and filling these are! I’m amazed when I can manage four…but they do look so darn good!

  • myfudo June 22, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    I love the center-filled with cheesy goodness. It is indeed high time that meatballs get to be a main course, not just a sandwich filling or an ingredient in pasta. Meatballs rock! A must try!

    • Sandra June 22, 2012 at 10:18 pm

      Meatballs rock indeed! Glad you agree on enjoying them as a main course. Hopefully more will follow! :-)

  • Riley June 22, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Meatballs are my favorite! Especially when they have a cheesy surprise in the middle!

    • Sandra June 22, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      The surprise is the best part for sure!

  • Stephen June 23, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    My lord, I have no patience for cooking magazines or food shows, but these meatball photos are almost edible in themselves. I agree that The Meatball Shop is genius (along with its awesome homemade ice cream), but even their chefs could take a lesson from this recipe.

    • Sandra June 23, 2012 at 11:33 pm

      Thanks Stephen, you’re too kind! I’m actually wondering if The Meatball Shop has ever stuffed anything in their meatballs…surely they would have thought of it. I’ve been wanting to check out their new Williamsburg location, seems like a good excuse!

  • Things I like Thursday | Crazy Jamie's Blog January 3, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    […] These look great, and I want to make them! Tomato braised meatballs with melting mozzarella […]

  • L. Olson March 18, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    Wow, this looks delicious! Trying it tonight :)

  • Patricia Rixon Sirois October 3, 2015 at 8:08 am

    YUMMM!!! Will make this for my Husband! Thanks