Filed Under: Cheese, Food, italian, Meat, meatballs, Recipes

Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatballs in Red Wine Tomato Sauce

In a superb twist, these meatballs stuffed with mozzarella are baked until tender and finished in a rich red wine tomato sauce.

March 17th, 2016

From Lick Your Plate by Julie Albert & Lisa Gnat

When I complain about a bad hair day, Lisa often humors me by reminding me, “It’s what’s inside that counts.” While I know she utters this cliché to quiet me, what I didn’t know was that she takes this expression quite literally. I mean, how else would she have conceived the greatest surprise of all, juicy meatballs stuffed with melty mozzarella cheese? Mamma mia, this easy recipe takes the Italian classic (and inner beauty) to new heights.
20 large meatballs
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour, 10 minutes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black
  • pepper
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 cans (28 oz) San Marzano
  • whole tomatoes
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black
  • pepper
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1½ lb lean ground beef
  • 1 lb ground veal
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into
  • bite-sized cubes
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
  1. FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE, in a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, cooking for 3 minutes, until softened. Add wine and cook for 2–3 minutes to reduce. Stir in tomato paste, sugar, salt and pepper until well combined. Add beef broth and tomatoes, breaking up tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.

  2. FOR THE MEATBALLS, preheat oven to 400°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

  3. IN A LARGE BOWL, combine panko, Parmesan cheese, ricotta, eggs, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and garlic, mixing well to combine. Add ground beef and ground veal, mixing thoroughly by hand. Scoop out ¼ cup of the meat mixture and roll into a ball. Press one mozzarella cube in the center and roll again to seal in the cheese. Repeat and place meatballs on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12 minutes, flip meatballs and bake 12 minutes more. Remove from oven, place meatballs in sauce and simmer for 20 minutes more. Serve with spaghetti and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

  4. Create the ultimate Italian meatball sub by placing warmed meatballs with sauce in a hoagie roll topped with cheese and basil.

Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatballs in Red Wine Tomato Sauce
Ryan Szulc

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