pork meatballs with mozzarella

Hey ya’ll!

I am starting to think that Monday just repeats itself over and over again. Don’t you? I mean everyone is always in a bad mood or just exhausted when they show up for work. No one smiles. Except for that one annoying person who thinks that unicorns exist.

Well, if you’re like me, you get sick and tired of Monday being lame!  Thats why I want to share a recipe with you that can turn that frown upside down.  In a word:  AWESOME!!

This is a Giada recipe that I have used for a couple of years and love, love, love it. It’s one of those recipes that if you know the method you are free to switch up ingredients and make it your own, which is exactly what I did.

Here’s what was for dinner tonight:

Pork Meatballs with Mozzarella Cheese served over Whole Wheat Spaghetti and Homemade Marinara Sauce.

Hey! Don’t give me that look. If you have 15 minutes then you can make these little suckers. There’s nothing crazy complicated about meatballs. Trust me.

Start with simple ingredients.

Mix all of the ingredients in the bowl, except the mozzarella. Once mixed, form one inch balls and place mozzarella inside the meat and cover. It’s flipping awesome.
After they bake in an oven at 400 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes, they look like this…Hello, Betty!
I mean if oozing cheese doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know what will!
Now on to the pasketti:  while the meatballs are cooking, boil the spaghetti and make some quick marinara sauce.
Combine spaghetti and marinara sauce, and put in serving bowl. Top with two pork meatballs and garnish with Parmesan cheese and Italian parsley.

Pork Meatballs with Mozzarella


for the marinara sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/4 cup basil
for the meatballs:
1 small onion, grated
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus 1/4 cup
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup
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 kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 pound ground pork
2 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 16 (1/2-inch) cubes
1 pound long pasta


For the sauce:
In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

For the meatballs:
Position an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the onion, 1/2 cup parsley, 2/3 cup Parmesan, bread crumbs, egg, ketchup, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add ground pork. Using your hands, combine all ingredients gently but thoroughly. Shape the meat mixture into 16 (1 1/2-inch-diameter) meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet. Make a hole in the center of each meatball and place a cube of mozzarella inside. Reform the meatball so that the mozzarella is completely covered with the meat mixture. Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes until cooked through.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and place in a large serving bowl. Add the meatballs and sauce. Toss gently and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and Parmesan

All images and text ©