Wednesday March 10, 2010
Authenticity, history, and tradition. Those three words define Mary Ann Esposito and the signature cooking style that has made her one of America's best-known and most loved television chefs. In her latest book, Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites
, Esposito, best known for her authentic and inspired take on rustic Italian cooking, has taken a crack at the ubiquitous quick/easy genre offering 75 recipes that focus on five main ingredients.
Here we share one of Mary Ann's delicious recipes. Turn meatballs into a gourmet treat with very little extra effort, then sit back and enjoy the meal and the compliments!Cheesy Stuffed Meatballs
Makes 8 Meatballs
Recipe Courtesy of Mary Ann Esposito
"Can you make a better tasting meatball? Absolutely! Just stuff them with a creamy, melting cheese like Fontina! This may be a little unconventional way to make them, but the taste elevates meatballs to elegant and they can be served alone or in tomato sauce. Achieve great flavor by using a combination of ground chuck and ground sirloin because the fat in ground chuck is essential for moistness, while the sirloin provides great texture" -- Chef EspositoIngredients
- 1/2 cup good quality bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup heavy cream or half/half
- 1/2 pound ground chuck
- 1/2 pound ground sirloin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- Grinding coarse black pepper to taste
- 1/2 pound Fontina or mozzarella cheese cut into 8 small pieces
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Put the bread crumbs in a medium size bowl and pour the cream over them. Mix with a fork; the mixture will not be soupy.
- Add the ground chuck, sirloin, and salt and pepper. Mix just to combine the ingredients. Divide the mixture into 8 equal pieces and roll each in the palm of your hand to make compact 2 1/2-inch balls.
- Insert your thumb into the middle of each meatball and push in a piece of cheese. Close the meatball encasing the cheese and smooth the top.
- Place the meatballs on a rimmed, nonstick baking sheet. Bake them for 20-25 minutes or until they are nicely browned. Serve hot as is or put them in tomato sauce and serve with pasta or as a second course.
Variation: make the meatballs miniature size and bake them for 10-12 minutes. Serve as an antipasto. Leftovers make great sandwich filling too!
Cook's Secret: If you wet your hands between making each meatball, the meat mixture will not stick to your hands.Ciao Italia
: Five Ingredient Favorites by Mary by Ann Esposito