Giant Skillet Stuffed Meatballs, For Two!
It is so, so epic.
Since you guys love all my meatball recipes — see here, here, and here for ma’ newbies — I decided to give you another. Like the previous incarnations this features extra-lean ground beef (96%/4%), minimal breadcrumbs, and skillet-baked preparation. But instead of forming the usual, golf-ball sized rounds, I made these GIANT.
Then I STUFFED THEM with onion, spinach, and twooo! types of cheeses.
I told you, epic.
Before you start freaking out about calories and fat, take a breather. The extra-lean ground beef saves you here, as does a filling that’s half veggie, half cheese. They’re also baked, not fried, served with a homemade sauce (obviously), and there’s nary a carb in sight!
If you skip the bread for dipping, this is actually crazy lean. But, ya know, don’t skip the bread for dipping.
You start by prepping a quick-fix homemade marinara sauce — my usual, you love it — then forming the meatballs. Working with your hands, mix the ground beef with egg yolk, breadcrumbs, minced onion, and seasoning, then form into two giant, even sized balls. For reference, they’re going to be somewhere between a baseball and a softball, so already this is very exciting.
Next prepare the filling of more minced onion, chopped spinach, mascarpone, and grated pecorino. If you’d rather use grated parmesan or asiago, fine by me! Just make sure it’s sharp. Once the filling is mixed, pick up one meatball and use your thumb to create a large hole, almost to the point of flattening it into an above-ground pool. Yes, this sounds trashy as hell, but it’s honestly what it should look like. Spoon half the filling into the divot/pool, then gently work the meat back around it into a ball. This may take a minute, but be patient. The trick is to dampen your hands with a bit of water before rolling/filling/re-rolling, and I promise it’s all easier than it sounds.
With both meatballs stuffed, transfer to a cast-iron or greased, oven-proof skillet, then coat with olive oil. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes depending on whether you want a medium rare or well-done finish, then get ready to FEAST. Some filling might ooze out while baking, which is totally okay. And the smells might actually make your toes curl, which is okay too.
Just remember to calm yourself and finish plating.
Serve each meatball atop a bed of homemade sauce, plus more sauce on top too. And when you slice one of these nuggets of heaven open? Amazing. Creamy, savory, hearty, and just a touch sweet thanks to the sauce, these taste positively outrageous. As guilt-free as a stuffed meatball gets — in all seriousness, this meal is legit healthy — the meatballs provide insane texture with a crisp, golden outside and plump, juicy center.
In short — It’s basically the perfect meal. And it’s conveniently portioned for two. xo
Giant Skillet Stuffed Meatballs
- 28 oz can peeled or crushed tomatoes
- 1 1/4 tsps basil
- 1 1/4 tsps oregano
- 1 tsp crushed or minced garlic
- several dashes salt
- a few pinches black pepper
- a few pinches granulated sugar
- 1/2 lb extra lean ground beef (I used 96%/4%)
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 1/2 tbsps breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp minced onion
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- a pinch of salt & pepper
- 1 – 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
- 5 tbsps mascarpone cheese
- 3 tbsps grated pecorino
- 3 tbsps chopped frozen spinach
- 1 tbsp minced onion
- Begin by preparing the sauce. In a large saucepan combine all sauce ingredients over a medium-low flame, adjusting the seasonings as needed and mashing the tomatoes with a potato masher if using peeled tomatoes. Cover and simmer, occasionally stirring and mashing as appropriate.
- Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the extra lean ground beef, egg yolk, breadcrumbs, onion, basil, oregano, and salt & pepper. Next, using damp hands roll the meat into two softball-sized rounds.
- In a small mixing bowl combine all filling ingredients until well mixed. I softened my filling in the microwave for 5 seconds before stirring, which made incorporating easier.
- Using your thumb (and making sure your hands are still damp!), create a cavernous hole inside each meatball, then stuff with filling and re-roll until the filling is completely surrounded by meat. Transfer to a cast-iron skillet or greased, oven-proof skillet, then use a pastry brush to coat each round in EVOO. Bake on oven middle rack for 25 – 30 minutes until crisped on the outside and fully cooked inside. Serve in bowls with homemade sauce and additional pecorino cheese on top.