Baked, Stuffed Meatballs and Pasta

, from Issue #108. March, 2023
Baked, Stuffed Meatballs and Pasta

Juicy baked meatballs are cooked in a rustic tomato sauce and are soft and tender with their molten cheesy centres.

Serves: 3-4


1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
¼ cup milk
½ cup freshly grated parmesan plus extra to serve
¼ cup basil pesto
1 egg
3 cloves garlic, crushed
350 grams good beef mince
350 grams good pork mince
sea salt and ground pepper
10 bocconcini

1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 x 400-gram tins crushed tomatoes
½ cup chicken stock
½ cup fregola
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley


Preheat the oven to 180˚C fan bake. 

Combine the breadcrumbs, milk, parmesan, pesto, egg and the garlic in a large bowl and leave for 10 minutes. Add the mince and season well with salt and pepper. Mix until well combined. Hands are good for this.

Form into 10 meatballs then press a bocconcini into the centre of each one and reform into a smooth ball, making sure the cheese is totally covered with meat with no cracks.

Heat the oil in a large ovenproof frying pan and quickly brown the meatballs. They won’t be fully cooked. Remove to a plate.

Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stock and fregola and bring to the boil. Nestle the meatballs into the sauce spooning a little over each one. Cover with a tight-fitting lid or foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook for 5 minutes or until the meatballs and pasta are cooked.