Just call me Mama.

I think everyone can say that spaghetti and meatballs are comfort food.  Or maybe I’m just assuming this because I great up in an Italian family.  The kind family where when asked in school, “What is your family’s traditional dish at Christmas (Easter, Thanksgiving) ?”  I yelled, “LASAGNA!”
So it’s no wonder that I’m a big meatball fan. And likewise, I’m a huge cheese fan.  Who isn’t?  Will you believe me when I say that this recipe…
Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs (adapted from Rachael Ray’s Caprese-Stuffed Meatballs with Tomato-Pesto Sauce)
You will need:
  • 4 slices of bread
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 pounds of meat.  I used a ground beef, veal and pork mix.
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • A small handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • a handful of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • a container of bocconcini
1.) Preheat oven to 425°. Tear bread up and bread and milk and make sure all of the bread absorbs the milk.  Set aside.
2.) Combine meat, garlic, parsley, egg, salt and pepper, and my favorite….a handful of cheese.
This is one of the many reasons why I love Rachael Ray.  Her recipes include measurements like “a handful”.
3.) Squeeze as much of the milk out of the bread as possible.  Combine ingredients.  You might want to take your rings off for this one :)
4.)  And now for the star of the show!
Separate meat into 16 pieces.  Make the pieces into a ball with a well in the middle.  Put a piece of bocconcini in the well.  Form the meat around the bocconcini with your hands until it is completely covered.  Place meatballs on a baking sheet, separating evenly.
5.) Drizzle meatballs with olive oil or as Rach would say, EVOO.  Cook for 15-18 minutes.
The rest is up to you!  The original recipe called for a pesto/tomato sauce  combo but I decided to just use my Mom’s homemade  marinara sauce.
I served the meatballs over spaghetti with a tossed salad and garlic bread. What kind of Italian would I be if I didn’t go with this combo?
Melted mozzarella cheese inside a meatball?  Oh yes.
Just try to make these meatballs and not say, “Mama Mia!”