Chimichurri Meatballs stuffed with Cheese

If you ever have a craving for some giant meatballs stuffed with herbs and cheese, look no further than these chimichurri meatballs. They have so many flavors packed inside and the warm stringy mozzarella cheese makes them even tastier. I wish my boys were here to try them; meatballs never lasted long when they were around. But my audience of one (Joe) loved them. The chimichurri is made with parsley, cilantro and chives along with garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, red pepper flakes salt and olive oil. It makes any meatball so moist and flavorful. We found these giant meatballs so filling that 2 were enough for a plate of spaghetti and sauce and also meatball hoagies. This one’s a keeper, plan on putting some up in the freezer. They make an easy meal over the summer when you don’t want to turn on the oven.

Pack your measured parsley, cilantro and chives into a small food processor. Add garlic and your favorite red pepper flakes.

Add a tablespoon of lemon juice.

And a tablespoon of red wine vinegar.

Pulse on high to chop and blend the herbs together. Add a good stream of olive oil and continue blending, add more olive oil if needed. When you have the desired consistency, salt to taste.

This makes about a cup of chimichurri. You’ll need about 1/3 cup for the meatballs and save the rest in the fridge. This is great spooned over grilled steak, pork chops, chicken or it even pasta.

You’ll want some lean ground beef and ground pork. To that add some chopped red onion, chopped sun dried tomatoes, chimichurri and panko breadcrumbs.

Combine the ingredients together and divide into 12 equal pieces and form into balls.

Use whatever type of mozzarella cheese you want. I found a package of fresh mozzarella “pearls” that were on sale. I thought 4 small pearls would be a good amount. Make a dimple in the center of each meatball, place the cheese in the center and fold the meat around it. Place on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Continue filling each meatball with cheese until you are done.

Place meatballs on the prepped baking sheets leaving space between each one. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes or until they are cooked throughout. A few may ooze a bit of cheese out the bottom, no worries, when you remove it from the parchment paper, the cheese will come with it.

Have you heard about Rao’s Homemade pasta sauce? It’s been described as one of the best jarred pasta sauces that tastes just like your grandmother made. It’s almost $9 here in Albuquerque but when I found it on sale I picked up a jar just to see if it would live up to the hype. I have to say I’m impressed. It’s really good!! The color, the texture and the taste is spot on and I would highly recommend it. I still plan to make homemade sauce but I think I will keep a jar on hand for those times when I need a tomato sauce and don’t have time or the ingredients on hand to make it.

I let these cooked meatballs simmer in the Rao’s Homemade Sauce.

Joe wanted a meatball sandwich. I heated a hoagie roll with grated mozzarella inside. Once the mozzarella cheese melted I added some of the Rao’s sauce, 2 chimichurri meatballs and a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese.

Spaghetti and meatballs . . . so so good!

Chimichurri Meatballs stuffed with Cheese

1 pound lean Ground Beef
1 pound Ground Pork
1/3 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1/3 cup Sun Dried Tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/4 cup Red Onion, chopped fine
Fresh Mozzarella Balls, to stuff meatballs, they should be large marble sized. I used 4 fresh mozzarella “Pearls” in each meatball
Chimichurri Sauce, recipe follows

Chimichurri Sauce
3/4 cup fresh Curly or Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, leaves only
1/4 cup fresh Cilantro, leaves only
2 tablespoons Chives
2 cloves Garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes, I used NM Red Chile flakes
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 – 1/3 cup Olive Oil
Salt to taste

Pack the herbs, garlic and red pepper flakes in a food processor. Pour in the measured lemon juice and red wine vinegar to the mix. Pulse until the contents are roughly chopped. Begin to add a stream of olive oil and process until you have the desired consistency. Salt to taste.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees; line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

In a large bowl, combine ground beef, ground pork, chopped onion, sun dried tomatoes, chimichurri sauce and panko bread crumbs. Mix together until all the ingredients are distributed throughout. Divide the mixture into 12 equal pieces formed into balls. Working one at a time, create a dimple in the center of each meatball and place mozzarella cheese in the center. Fold the meatball mixture around the cheese so that it is completely enclosed. Place meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper leaving space between each meatball. When all 12 meatballs are formed, place in preheated 400 degree oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until meatballs are cooked throughout.

Serve meatballs simmering in pasta sauce, serve with spaghetti and pasta sauce or in a sandwich with marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese.

Makes 12 giant meatballs.

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