Cheesy Meatballs

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Okay. I know there’s been a huge influx of cheese-related food here lately. And I’m gonna be just as guilty about it this week. So bear with me a little while more? And for those that just can’t get enough of cheese, hooray! More cheese infused food!

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All done in one skillet, your meatball heaven awaits you. Now you can use these meatballs with some demi baguettes to make a sub or toss it with some freshly cooked pasta. Or just munch on them straight from the pan if that’s the way you roll. I leave the eating how…up to you. The important thing is to enjoy it! Get the pan and oil nice and hot before you start pan-frying so they don’t stick.

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You’ll want some space for them to roll around so you can brown them on all sides. I used just enough oil to coat the bottom of the skillet so they wouldn’t stick, about a tablespoon. Depending on how lean your ground beef was, some fat will render and you’ll end up with more oil than you started with. Use this oil to brown your meatballs. When you’re rolling your meatballs around to brown, do it gently! The same goes for when you’re reintroducing them back into the skillet and marinara sauce. Easy does it!

Remove any excess oil before you add in the marinara sauce. And for the marinara sauce there are also options. Go for a recipe that’s already a staple if you have one. Stick with a jarred one if that makes you happy. Or dress it up with some seasonings. I like to add some Worcestershire sauce, beef bouillon cubes, red pepper flakes and balance out the sourness of the marinara with a teeny tiny bit of sugar.

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Add the meatballs one at a time and roll them around in the sauce to get them fully coated as you add them back to the skillet. Then simmer for a little to marry the flavors. You’ll want to reduce the heat around this stage because anything tomato sauce related means a huge mess. Reducing it to a gentle simmer helps keep it contained. Wear an apron!

Once it’s done simmering, top with some mozzarella cheese. Add some Parmesan cheese too for good measure if you want. Now I don’t have any covers for my cast iron skillets so instead of covering it and melting the cheese that way, I’ll be broiling it for a few quick minutes to melt that layer of cheese. If you have a cover, go for it. If you want a nice browned cheesy layer, broil it!

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And that’s that! Break out your baguettes or drain off your pasta. It’s eating time!

Ingredients

1 jar (24 oz.) marinara sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

Meatballs:

1 lb. ground beef
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ cup Italian bread crumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Combine all the meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands
Scoop out about 1 golf ball sized meatball mixture, roll it in your hands to make meatballs. I used an ice cream scoop
Over medium high heat, brown the meatballs in batches until evenly browned, about 5-8 minutes
Remove meatballs and drain on paper towels. Drain any excess oil from the skillet
Reduce heat to medium low and pour the marinara sauce in the skillet
Add the meatballs back to the skillet and roll them around to coat them in the marinara sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes or until internal temperature of meatballs are 165 degrees F
Top with mozzarella cheese. Cover and simmer until cheese melts or broil at 450 degrees F for 3-5 minutes for browned cheese
Dish and serve hot sprinkled with chopped fresh basil

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