Crispy Caprese Meatballs Stuffed with Fresh Mozzarella, topped with Marinara and Fresh Basi
- Simple Marinara Sauce Ingredients:
- 1 – 1 1/4 cups fresh breadcrumbs (about a 2-3 ounce french roll, processed)
- 4 tablespoons milk, or half & half
- 1 pound ground beef (85/15 ratio)
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan, divided use
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 8 mini fresh mozzarella balls (or about 3 ounces of a larger, fresh mozzarella ball), quartered to make 32 pea-sized pieces
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Canola oil
- Simple Marinara (recipe below)
- 1/4 cup basil leaves, finely julienned
- 1 (14 ounce) can organic crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
-To a large bowl, add the breadcrumbs and the milk (or half & half), and combine to moisten; next, add in the ground beef, the egg, ½ cup of the parmesan, and the remainder of the ingredients up to and including the chopped parsley.
-Using your hands, combine all of the ingredients until well mixed; next, scoop out about 32, ¾ ounce portions.
-Take each of those portions, and flatten them out on the palm of your hand (like a mini burger patty), and lay one piece of the pea-sized mozzarella in the center; then, fold the meat over the mozzarella piece, and gently roll between your palms to create the meatballs.
-Chill the meatballs for about 20-30 minutes.
-While your meatballs chill, preheat your oven to 350°, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
-Once the meatballs are chilled, combine the remaining ¼ cup of parmesan with the panko breadcrumbs, and roll each meatball in the mixture.
-Place a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, and drizzle in a little of the oil; working in batches, add some of the meatballs into the pan, and allow them to brown, turning them on all sides, for about 2-3 minutes; then, place the browned meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, and repeat the process with the rest of the meatballs.
-Once all are browned and on the baking sheet, bake the meatballs for 10 minutes until gooey and cooked through.
-Top with a dollop of Simple Marinara, and a sprinkle of julienned basil, and serve with toothpicks.
-To a small saucepan, add all of the ingredients, and whisk to blend.
-Place the saucepan over medium heat, and once the sauce begins to simmer, reduce to low and allow it to gently simmer, uncovered and undisturbed, for 10 minutes.
-Serve while warm, or allow to cool and keep covered in fridge.