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Stuffed Saucy Meatballs & Pasta

Stuffed Saucy Meatballs & Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ lbs. ground beef
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 12 small balls fresh mozzarella cheese (about 1/3 ounce each)
  • 1 jar (25 to 26 ounces) spicy red pepper pasta sauce or other pasta sauce
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
  • Hot cooked spaghetti rigati or linguine
  • Fresh oregano sprigs (optional)

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Combine ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs, garlic, 1 tablespoon chopped oregano, salt and pepper in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly.
2. Divide mixture into 12 equal portions. Lightly shape into patties. Place 1 mozzarella ball in center of each patty.
3. Shape beef around cheese until completely enclosed inside forming meatballs. Place meatballs on aluminum-foil-lined 15 x 10-inch baking pan. Bake in 400°F oven 15 to 20 minutes to medium (160°F) doneness, until not pink in center and juices show no pink color.
4. Meanwhile heat pasta sauce in large saucepan until hot, stirring occasionally. Add meatballs and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.
5. Spoon meatballs and sauce onto pasta. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon chopped oregano. Garnish with oregano sprigs, if desired.

(Serves 4)

This recipe was inspired by a compilation of 2 recipes – Beef and Sweet Pepper Pasta and Mealmaker Meatballs – from the article Mom’s Cooking Club in the March 2005 issue of Better Homes and Gardens.

Cook’s Tip:
Dried oregano leaves may be substituted for fresh. Use 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves in meatball mixture. Add 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves to pasta sauce before heating.

Margaret Murphy, IL
© Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

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