Baked Meatballs Stuffed with Roasted Garlic and Cheese Recipe

March 7th, 2008 · Tags: Entree · Food · Italy · Recipe

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My father, while he’s no Emeril, always tried to make us happy with food when we came to visit him. The first few years were a combination of spaghetti at home and eating out, but there was one thing that was always a big crowd pleaser: Grandma’s meatballs. My dad would go into the kitchen, roll up his sleeves and start mixing in a giant mixing bowl. If all four of us kids were there, we’d eat every one of them.

Now he’s deep in tax season. My dad, being a CPA, has one of those jobs I envy 8 months of the year and am horrified by the other 4. So if I was close by right now, I would offer to roll my own sleeves up and make him some of Grandma’s meatballs while he worked. You can do it, Dad!

Since my dad has been making them for so many years, I definitely consider them his, and one crazy Saturday I got a kilo of ground beef and decided to make my own version from what I remembered.

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you’ve discovered that I love garlic! Unfortunately it’s something that’s considered pretty pesante (difficult to digest) here in Italy (read more about how I push the pesante limits with stuffed mushrooms and stuffed onions) so when I decide to use it, I usually really enjoy it. I wanted to stuff these meatballs!!

Baked Meatballs Stuffed with Roasted Garlic and Spicy Cheese Recipe

I roasted the garlic used in this recipe first. Ree from the Pioneer Woman Cooks (fabulous home cooking recipes here) has an excellent post on Roasting Garlic.

2 lbs / 1 kilo ground beef
1/2 c. Parmesan / parmigiano cheese, grated
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
2-3T. flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
3-4 T. sugar
2 eggs
Salt, pepper, other spices like garlic powder / hot pepper, to taste

For the stuffing:
Roasted garlic, Pepperjack cheese or other fillings like Gorgonzola, caramelized onions, or chutney!

These are baked meatballs – the benefits being that I saved a ton of oil and work as the meatballs cooked themselves! It won’t replace frying meatballs, but it’s definitely a favorite alternative.

Meatballs ready for the oven

  1. In a large bowl, mix beef, parmigiano, breadcrumbs, sugar and parsley. After mixing rather well, add the eggs and continue to mix.
    Ingredients ready for meatballs
  2. Preheat oven to 350F/ 180C. In a glass baking dish or a cookie sheet with a lip, add a thin layer of oil to the bottom of the pan. Form flat, thin patties with your hands, and place your desired filling in the middle. Fold the mixture up around the filling, forming a ball and closing holes as best you can.
  3. Cook for 15-20 minutes, checking that they don’t get too dried out. If you are going to use them in a sauce, brown only for 5-10 minutes then add the sauce and keep cooking. You can let them dry on paper towels to get rid of some of the excess oil.

S’ favorite was by far the hot & spicy Pepper Jack cheese that a friend had smuggled in from the US for me. “5 and 1/2 forks” (out of 5) was his rating.

What would you stuff in your meatballs?? Is there a “secret” ingredient in your recipe?

Baked Meatballs Stuffed with Roasted Garlic Recipe

I’m sending my Grandma’s / Dad’s / my meatballs to Maryann of Finding La Dolce Vita and Marie of Proud Italian Cook for their Festa Italiana, taking place now – you’re still in time to join!

Baked Meatballs Stuffed with Roasted Garlic and Cheese Recipe

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15 Comments

15 responses so far ↓

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  • 1
    Jeff // Mar 7, 2008 at 8:45 am

    I would stuff them with roast garlic and then more roast garlic and onions. Hmm but then I would have to stay home because no one would want to talk to me. Maybe smoked scamorza!!

  • 2
    bleeding espresso // Mar 7, 2008 at 10:13 am

    My grandmother’s meatballs have garlic in them (really finely minced), and the first time I made them here, yup, got the pesante thing…and then they were all gobbled up within minutes ;)

    Secrets? Only ground pork and veal in the mixture.

    And what would I stuff mine with? Why suppressata and provola of course. Mmm….

    Btw, my grandmother sometimes baked her meatballs too, later in life when health concerns came in. Delicious!

  • 3
    Su-Lin // Mar 7, 2008 at 11:41 am

    Ah! So that’s how to keep the cheese inside – by roasting the meatballs! Thanks for the recipe.

  • 4
    Marie // Mar 7, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Those are some great looking meatballs you have there! And what a yummy surprise in the middle, each bite a delight!! What a delicious entry for our “Festa Italiana,” Thank You!

  • 5
    nyc/caribbean ragazza // Mar 7, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    sigh.. I love garlic as well. Those meatballs look so good. Would this work with a ricotta/mozzarella cheese stuffing? Hmmm

  • 6
    Maryann // Mar 7, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    My mom used to stuff hers with mozzarella, then braise in a light tomato/broth.
    I love your recipe and am so happy you are joining our festa :)
    And garlic is the bomb!

  • 7
    Deborah // Mar 7, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    What a brilliant recipe! I’m in love with garlic, and these sound amazing!

  • 8
    Susan from Food Blogga // Mar 7, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    I might stuff a sun-dried tomato in one. This is such a delicious entry for Maryann and Marie’s event.

  • 9
    jen of a2eatwrite // Mar 7, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    These look amazing. I may have to make them soon – like tonight!

  • 10
    Stinni // Mar 11, 2008 at 5:31 am

    Oh my God. It’s 8:30AM my time and I’m salivating over the third picture. They look absolutely delish. I would stuff mine with roasted garlic and just a little mozzarella, e basta.

    Wonderful blog, it’s one of my favorites.

  • 11
    anna l'americana // Mar 11, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Gorgonzola. Definitely gorgonzola dolce. I love garlic and a meal isn’t a meal without it – I would probably mix pasted roasted garlic in with the meat and then stuff the meatballs with the gorgonzola. Not only is the flavor addition of the gorgonzola fabulous but it does something amazing to the texture of the meat. Great photos as always Sara – YUM!!!!!

  • 12
    onionpolenta // Mar 15, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Hey! Great to see a fellow expat in Milan. I think this a wonderful kid-friendly recipe too. Kids love meatballs and you can even hide veggies inside. Super!

  • 13
    Alanna // Apr 16, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    I’m a huge fan of baking meatballs too — saves so much time, so many calories! Your recipe is gorgeous –

  • 14
    tessie // Sep 25, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    I’m going to give them a try this weekend… MMMmm! I have some of the fresh (water packed) mozzarella balls and plan to plop one in the center of each ball before roasting..

    Has anyone tried doing that with the fresh mozz-balls? If so – should I pat them dry & dust them lightly in flour before stuffing into the garlicy meatballs?

    If no one responds before I give it a shot.. I’ll just do a couple sample balls before putting the whole batch in.

    ~~~~Thanks~ YUM~

  • 15
    Barbara // May 23, 2010 at 1:14 am

    I’m having trouble subscribing via RSS.

    Thx

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