Chef Juje

A messy adventure in learning to cook

Giada’s Mozzarella Meatballs

The fiance and I both love Giada DeLaurentiis.

I used to think it was for very different reasons. I like the ingredients she uses and the clarity with which she explains each of her steps and, fine, because her show is on late enough in the day that I can occasionally catch it if I get home early. As for my fiance…well…it’s an easy cooking show to watch.

The other day, though, he suggested that I make meatballs that she made on her show one time. “With bits of cheese in the middle,” he explained “seared and then baked in the oven.”

I was impressed. This means that he actually watched the show. With the sound on. And listened.

So I found the recipe for her Bucatini All’Amatriciana with Spicy Smoked Mozzarella Meatballs and got to work. Next time, I will do the sauce a little differently by using twice the tomatoes as called for in the recipe and less or no pasta. My ratio was just a little off or the sauce over-reduced.

But the MEATBALLS. Oh my gosh the MEATBALLS. And so, I present just the meatballs here.  The recipe actually doesn’t call for searing the meatballs first, though I might try that next time.  I also used regular mozzarella and not smoked — still fantastic.

1 small (6-ounce) onion, grated
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
1 large egg
2 tablespoons ketchup
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
8 ounces ground beef
8 ounces ground veal
2 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 16 (1/2-inch) cubes

1.) Place oven rack in lower third of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.) In LARGE (seriously) bowl, combine the onion, parsley, Parmesan, bread crumbs, egg, ketchup, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Then add the beef and veal, or the meatball mixture if you find it.

3.) Use your hands to combine all ingredients. Be gentle but firm. Make 16 meatballs, each about 1.5 inches diameter.

4.) Make a hole in the center of each meatball and place a cube of mozzarella inside. It will kind of look like you’re planting mozzarella. Genius.

5.) Reform the meatball so that the mozzarella is completely covered with the meat mixture.

6.) Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes until cooked through.



Things I learned/helpful hints:

Grated is not minced and is certainly NOT diced. This very much matters for meatballs.  Onions for the meatballs need to be very, very finely chopped or else they won’t form into balls well.

Searing the meatballs first in a pan can help create a nice crust on the meatballs.  They will still need to be cooked in the oven.  I’ll try searing first next time.

I found a ground beef/veal mixture at the grocery store that worked really well for this.

Always listen to your loved ones when it comes to what’s delicious. He was totally right with this.

Source:  Giada at Home


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