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Baked Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

by Emy
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Juicy, tender chicken meatballs stuffed with gooey mozzarella cheese and tossed with rich tomato sauce–yes, this is as tasty as it sounds! Try these easy mozzarella stuffed meatballs over some pasta or rice, scooped onto garlic bread, or even spooned into a sandwich.

Ingredients

    • 1 pound ground chicken, ground turkey, or lean ground beef
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 raw egg, beaten
    • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
    •  cup plain breadcrumbs, plus more for later (or gluten free breadcrumbs if needed)
    • 2 teaspoons dry oregano
    • ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
    • 1 cup fresh chopped parsley
    • Kosher salt and black pepper
    • 20 baby mozzarella balls, bocconcini, (if you have more, you can use them in the sauce)
    • Extra virgin olive oil, the everyday California EVOO is a good option here
    • Pasta sauce, homemade or 25 ounces store-bought marinara

Instructions

    • Make the meatball mixture. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat (I used ground chicken), garlic, egg, parmesan cheese, and breadcrumbs. Add the oregano, paprika, and parsley. Season with kosher salt and black pepper and mix to combine. (At this point, you can cover and refrigerate the mixture for later or you can proceed to finish the recipe. See prepare ahead notes).
    • Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
    • Prepare a bowl with more breadcrumbs (start with ⅓ cup). You’ll roll the meatballs in this mixture later.
    • Form and stuff the meatballs. Take heaping 1-tablespoons of the meatball mixture and form them into balls, making an indentation in the middle. Insert a mozzarella ball in the center of each meatball, and reform the meatball making sure the cheese is covered with the meat mixture.
    • Roll the meatballs in the breadcrumbs so that each meatball is covered with breadcrumbs all over.
    • Brown the meatballs in olive oil. In a large oven-safe skillet set over medium-high heat, add enough extra virgin olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is shimmering, add the meatballs to the skillet, making sure each meatball comes in contact with the oil. Cook the meatballs, turning over as needed, until a golden brown crust forms on the outside (about 2 to 3 minutes).
    • Add the sauce. Turn the heat off, then pour the sauce all over the meatballs (carefully as it might splatter). If you have a few extra mozzarella balls to use up, you can nestle them in the sauce.
  • Cover and bake. Cover with a lid (or foil if the pan does not have a lid), and transfer to the oven. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.

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