Even Nonna would approve of these authentic Italian meatballs. Made with lean Ontario ground veal and simmered in a rustic tomato sauce, they feature a deliciously decadent centre of melted cheese. The recipe calls for bocconcini but we like to substitute chevrai (soft, unripened goat cheese) instead.
- 1 can (796 mL) whole plum tomatoes
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano
- 1 tsp (5 mL) dried basil
- 1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) salt, divided
- 1/4 cup (50 mL) finely ground bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup (50 mL) milk
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 lb (500 g) ground Ontario veal
- 1 cup (250 mL) coarsely grated onion
- 1/4 cup (50 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 tsp (1 mL) dried hot red pepper flakes
- 8 cocktail sized pieces of bocconcini (or substitute chèvre)
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
Pulse tomatoes with their juice in a food processor until chopped. In a large heavy saucepan simmer tomatoes with garlic, oregano, basil and 1/2 tsp (2 mL) of the salt, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
Meanwhile, in a bowl combine bread crumbs, milk and egg. Let stand 5 minutes. Add veal, onion, Parmesan, parsley, red pepper flakes and remaining salt and gently combine with your hands. Form into 8 large meatballs, inserting the cheese into the center of each.
Brush each meatball with oil and arrange on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.
Gently transfer cooked meatballs to saucepan with sauce. Simmer meatballs in sauce until cooked through and flavours have combined, about 15 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes then serve.
Makes 4 servings.
Recipe courtesy of ontariomeatproducts.ca