Thursday, October 4, 2012

Spaghetti w/ Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

This evening I made "Spaghetti w/ Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs".  I used my Spirelli to make the zucchini pasta and set it aside to quickly saute in a little olive oil right before serving.  I then made herb and Parmesan filled meatballs using ground round and stuffed them with a chunk of fresh mozzarella cheese.  I baked the meatballs at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes and then placed them in a pot of marinara sauce (either homemade or your favorite jarred) and simmered them for another 20-30 minutes or so to let everything mingle.  I used a jar of Mario Batali Marinara Sauce tonight to help make dinner a bit quicker to put together (his sauces use fresh ingredients without any preservatives and no added sugar).  With the cooler weather coming, I sometimes like to make a big batch of homemade marinara sauce on the weekends and freeze it so I can pull it out when I want to use it during the week.  There are plenty of good sauces without added sugar and preservatives on the market, although some of them are a bit pricey.  I believe Mario Batali's sauces run about $7-8.00 per jar, but you can find them on sale for about $5.00 too, which is when I stock up on them.  I served the meatballs and sauce on top of the zucchini spaghetti topped with shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, fresh Italian parsley and basil.  Check out a few pics below.  Enjoy!

Take a peek inside
Meatballs are ready to hop into the oven
Fresh out of the oven waiting to hop into the sauce

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs


1 lb. ground beef or turkey (I used ground round)
1 egg
2 - 3 tablespoons cream (I used half-n-half)
2 tablespoons onion, finely minced
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons ground flax meal, optional (or use 2 extra tablespoons grated Parmesan)
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, optional
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped (or 1/2 tsp dried)
2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
2-3 leaves fresh basil, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
4-6 ounces fresh mozzarella cut into dice size cubes (or cut string cheese into 1" pieces)


Preheat oven to 375 F.  Mix all ingredients together in a bowl (except mozzarella cubes) until well blended.  Divide mixture into approximately 12 evenly sized sections to make 1 dozen meatballs (you can make them larger if you prefer).  Roll each of the sections into a ball with your hands (approximately golf ball sized).  Press a cube of mozzarella into the center of each meatball and seal well.  Place on a foil lined pan and bake about 30 minutes at 375 degrees.  When done baking, place in a pot of marinara sauce; cover and let simmer about 20-30 minutes.  Serve over the pasta of your choice. 

**Note: If you don't have the individual spices (oregano, thyme, sage, basil; substitute about   
              2 teaspoons Italian seasoning.

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