Baked Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

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A delectable dish worth sharing is fashioned with meatballs that are filled with cheesy mozzarella and cooked in a homemade tomato sauce.


For the meatballs:
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh black pepper
8 ounces mozzarella cheese ball, cut into 1/2 inch square pieces
For the sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup dark red wine, (optional)
1 (28 ounce) can of crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


To prepare the meatballs, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets with cooking spray or oil.
In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, onion, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, eggs, garlic, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Mix with a fork until combined.
Using a spoon or scoop, roll meat into balls, about 2 tablespoons each. Using your thumb, press into the center to create an indent, place a piece of cheese in the center of the dough ball and then re-roll ball to cover the cheese. Don’t be afraid to use a little extra meat mixture if you need to cover the cheese. Repeat with remaining meat and arrange on baking sheet.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.
While the meatballs are baking, prepare sauce. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes.
Whisk in the cornstarch and optional wine, if desired. Let simmer for 2 additional minutes.
Add crushed tomatoes, parsley, basil and salt. Stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes.
Once baked meatballs are done, carefully add them to the sauce. On low heat, simmer uncovered for an additional 10 minutes. Serve as an appetizer or with pasta. Enjoy!

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