This post is sponsored by Sartori Cheese and #Foodiechats. All opinions are my own.
Cheese stuffed mini meatballs are a very tasty (and easy) appetizer. Serve them in a bath of your favorite marinara sauce, a pile of toothpicks and you’re set to feed a crowd.
Football season has a officially started and my game day fanatic friends are always asking me for new food ideas. Anyone who is a meat eater loves meatballs, so I turned my signature recipe into something a little special. This recipe and post was created in association with #Foodiechats and their sponsor Sartori cheese, THE best cheese there is. Because Sartori are based in Wisconsin, along with a beauteous shipment their cheeses, they sent me a Green Bay Packers hat. Are you ready for football season?
When I don’t feel like eating beef, I make my easy chicken meatballs and they start with all the flavor enhancers because chicken does need a little help in that department. Chopped pancetta is cooked with onions, garlic and tomato paste (this is also how I start my marinara sauce). This is then cooled and mixed with the meat of choice, in this case ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan, fresh basil salt and pepper. The twist to this recipe is, before I roll the meatballs, I insert a small cube of cheese into the center so when you bite into the meatball you get oozy melted cheese goodness. For the cheese I used my favorite of the Sartori cheeses MontAmoré.
These meatballs not only make a great appetizer, last night I mixed them into penne with pasta sauce and made dinner out of them. They also freeze really well.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 ounces pancetta finely chopped
- 1/2 medium onion finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves grated
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil chopped
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 ounces cheese cut into small cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- To a skillet add the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the pancetta and onion and cooking, stirring often until softened and pancetta starts to brown, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and cook for 2 more minutes. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
- To a mixing bowl add the beef, pancetta/onion mix, egg, breadcrumbs, basil, Parmesan, salt & pepper and mix well.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F with the shelf rack in the center of the oven.
- Take 1 tablespoon of meat and flatten in the palm of your hand.
- Place a cube of cheese in the center. Wrap the meat around the cheese and roll into balls.
- Continue with the rest of the meat.
- Brush each meatball with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes until browned.
- Serve with your favorite marinara sauce.