Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mozzarella-Stuffed Turkey Meatballs

Fresh mozzarella was on sale at the grocery store recently, so I thought I'd buy a container and then figure out what to do with it.  This is often how things work here - I don't head to the store with a plan, but rather find out what's on sale or being offered as a Manager's Special (on the verge of its "sell by" date and thus discounted).  I bring the loot home and then write about whatever concoctions I've devised with my stellar deals.

This is an elegant and sophisticated dish which gives no indication at all of being inspired by a sale item.  An assortment of pantry staples such as bread crumbs, olive oil, and canned tomatoes were combined with some fresh vegetables and wine already on hand.  The result was a spicy sauce and some tender meatballs filled with melting cheese.  It was exceptionally good!

I'm proud of both my shopping skills and also of how wonderful this meal was!  And I'm trying to win a contest that would offer cookbooks, other goodies, AND a phone chat with the fabulous Lidia Bastianich herself as a prize - would that make a great item for the blog, or what???  So please go to this link and vote for me.  Many thanks!!!

Mozzarella-Stuffed Turkey Meatballs

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 small yellow pepper, chopped
1 small red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine

1/2 pound ground turkey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
6 3/4" cubes fresh mozzarella
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Make the sauce: In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the red pepper flakes, garlic, onion, peppers, fresh tomatoes, salt, and peppper; cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes to soften the vegetables. Add the wine and the crushed tomatoes; bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and continue simmering.

Make the meatballs: In a medium bowl, combine the turkey, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and bread crumbs; mix well. Form 6 meatballs. One by one, flatten the meatballs into small patties; place 1 cheese cube into the center, then wrap the cheese in the turkey, making sure to seal it well. Repeat until all of the meatballs have been stuffed.

Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook for 5 minutes, turning them frequently to brown them all over.

Carefully add the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.

The meatballs and sauce can be served "as is" for a traditional Italian "secondi" ([seh-GON-dee] = second course), or they can be served over rice or pasta. (In Italy, a first course offers pasta, rice, or soup; the second course would offer meat, and then subsequently there would be vegetables, salads, and dolci - [DOHL-chee], sweets.)

Serves 2-4.


Debbi Does Dinner Healthy said...

These sound wonderful with the mozzerella inside! I can't believe I never thought to do that! Thanks!

Unknown said...

I adore stuffed meatballs! These sound so delicious! I'm envious of your shopping skills - I feel like if I don't go to the store with at least some sort of plan I will either spend too much money or come home with nothing!! LOL

Mary Sullivan Frasier said...

I just voted for you my dear! I so hope you win it!

Those meatballs look so good that I could almost taste them and that's something right now cuz I can't taste much! LOL

Hope all is well and thanks for always being such a dear friend!


Cranberry Morning said...

I chuckled at this line, an elegant and sophisticated dish which gives no indication at all of being inspired by a sale item. These look delicious. A great meal, low carb, high protein. Just what I need!

Jill Mant~a SaucyCook said...

I have never had a stuffed meatball but I love fresh mozzarella. Will add to list of must try! Cheers!

Candace said...

If I were on Facebook, I would surely vote for you and your divine meatballs. These look fantastic! I have never had a stuffed meatball before; but I can only imagine how wonderful they must taste. Yummy!

Chris said...

I just voted, good luck.

I like that sauce, it would go great with lots of things.

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