Mozzarella-stuffed Meatballs

I had great fun making this – it’s so decadent and full of flavour. For once I made a proper side dish with the pasta instead of just having it as a vehicle for the sauce, and it all just went together in a mass of cheesy, tomatoey goodness. Yum! Smoked mozzarella adds a slightly different dimension to it than normal mozzarella would as well, although it may be a little harder to find. I got mine in Tesco, but it only started appearing recently so I’m not sure how widespread it is.

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Ingredients

(For the meatballs)

  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 3 tsp oregano
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 2 tsp za’atar
  • 1 tsp crushed chilli
  • Salt & pepper
  • Smoked mozzarella, cubed. The size and number of your cubes should depend on the size and number of your meatballs – you want the cubes to be big enough to be able to taste them, but small enough to be completely enveloped in the meatball.

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(For the pasta sauce)

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 4 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small bottle red wine
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 2-3 tsp oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method

(For the meatballs)

Throw all the meatball ingredients, apart from the cheese, into a bowl. With clean hands, give it a good mix about, making surely all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Form meatballs by pulling off sections of the mixture and rolling it into balls. Once made, take a meatball and push a cube of mozzarella into the center, reforming the ball around it as you go. Once done, set aside while you prepare your sauce.

(For the sauce)

Soften the garlic, onions and sundried tomatoes in a large shallow pan for a couple of minutes.

Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, wine, oregano and seasoning, mix in thoroughly and turn up the heat. Reduce until about halved, then add the meatballs, turn the heat right down and cover. Cook gently for about 10 mins, then turn the meatballs over and cool for another minute or so. Set the meatballs aside and turn up the heat under the sauce, reducing a bit further if needed. Serve up your pasta and meatballs (if using plain pasta, mix with a few spoons of sauce before serving) and top with the sauce and some fresh Parmesan.

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