Mozzarella-Stuffed 3 Meat Italian Meatballs

Ingredients:  (Makes about 4 dozen, 1/2 ounce meatballs)

  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground beef (85/15)
  • 1/2 pound ground sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 cup Parmigiano reggiano, freshly grated
  • 3/4 cup garlic and herb bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp finely minced garlic (~ 2 large cloves)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • optional - 1 fresh mozzarella ball cut into small cubes

Written Method: 

Mix together the three meats in a large bowl.  Also add in the Parmigiano reggiano, the flavored bread crumbs, and all the herbs and seasonings.  We definitely want our meatballs to be flavorful and not bland.  Add the eggs as a binder and the milk to make them even more tender.  

Now, with a delicate hand, let's get this all mixed up.  You may want to consider removing your rings first.  You don't want to overwork the meat.  Just gently mix to combine.  Now let's take a step off the path for a second.  The only way to know if we have adequately seasoned them is to taste them.  It's not likely we are going to taste the raw meat, so you have two options.  You can 1) take my word for it on the seasoning, or 2) make a tiny little patty and fry it up (think baby doll hamburger) and taste it.   

If you give the seasonings a thumbs up, then we are ready to make meatballs!  I rummaged around in the kitchen drawer until I found a 1/2 ounce cookie scoop.  I think this size meatball will be perfect for my family, and also not take forever to cook.  Just for reference, this is just a bit smaller than a golf ball I suppose.  First roughly portion them out.  Don't even bother making sure they are smooth or anything.  You can also take this opportunity to get your fresh mozzarella cut into small cubes.  

Here's how I did it.  For each meatball to be stuffed, I made well in one side with my thumb, and buried a piece of mozzarella in the hollow.  Then I closed up the meatball around the cheese and rolled the meatball between my two hands until it was pretty and smooth, making sure there were no cracks.  Be aware that some cheese will still find its way out... but you still want to seal it best that you can.

Go ahead and have your oven preheating on 350 degrees F.  For easy clean up, set your meatballs out on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets.  One of the most frequent complaints from people making meatballs is the clean up afterwards.  With the parchment paper, you just throw the paper away and your clean up will be a snap!  It will also keep them from sticking.  Double YAY!!  When ready, bake them in a preheated 350 degree oven for around 30-35 minutes.

You may notice that some of the parmesan and fat from the meat will start to bake out of the meatballs.  At this point, you can be thankful that you set them all on parchment paper.  After 30 minutes, I took them out to check on them.  Oh my WORD!  What a vision... not to mention the wonderful smell!  You may also notice that some of the mozzarella may start to ooze out depending on how well you sealed them up.  Ehh, don't stress over that.  As a matter of fact, this will alert your dinner guests of what is to come.  I'm sure they are perfectly fine at 30 minutes, but if you want them just a tad bit browner, pop them back in for another 5 minutes.  Completely your choice.  Now they will be firm enough to hold up to simmering in your favorite pasta sauce or making that perfect meatball sub.

Once the meatballs are baked, you have some options.  They are fully cooked and you can eat them as it, of course, so go ahead.  You deserve one.. or a few!  You can simmer them in your favorite marinara and serve over pasta.  You can also allow them to cool and then freeze them in a zip-top freezer bag.  They freeze beautifully!