Even Nonna would approve of these authentic Italian meatballs. Made with ground veal and simmered in a rustic tomato sauce, they feature a deliciously decadent centre of melted cheese. Lean ground veal makes the most tender juicy meatballs.
1 can (28 oz/796 mL) whole plum tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp (5 mL) EACH dried oregano and basil leaves
1½ tsp (7 mL) salt, divided
¼ cup (60 mL) dry bread crumbs
¼ cup (60 mL) milk
1 lb (500 g) Lean Ground Veal
1 cup (250 mL) coarsely grated onion
¼ cup (60 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup (60 mL) chopped fresh parsley
¼ tsp (1 mL) hot pepper flakes
8 cocktail-sized pieces bocconcini cheese
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
1. Pulse tomatoes with juice in a food processor until chopped. Transfer to a large, heavy saucepan; add garlic oregano, basil and ½ tsp (2 mL) of the salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
2. Meanwhile, beat egg with a fork in a medium bowl until blended. Stir in bread crumbs and milk. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add veal, onion, Parmesan, parsley, hot pepper flakes and remaining salt; gently mix with a fork (careful not to over-mix). Form into 8 large meatballs, inserting the cheese into the centre of each and enclosing with meat mixture.
3. Brush each meatball with oil and arrange on a foil-lined baking sheet, spacing them apart. Bake in preheated 400°F (200°C) oven for about 15 minutes or until golden.
4. Gently transfer cooked meatballs to sauce. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until a digital instant-read thermometer inserted into several meatballs reads 160°F (71°C) and flavours have combined. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.